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Showing posts with the label Juan Luna

Masterpieces from the National Museum of the Philippines

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." John F. Kennedy

The Spoliarium is an oil on canvas painting by Juan Luna. It won the coveted first gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1884.

Felix Resurección Hidalgo studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando de Madrid as a pensionado of the Ayuntamiento de Manila. He won the ninth silver medal in 1884 for his work, Las Virgines Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho at the Exposicion General de Bellas Artes in Madrid at which event, Juan Luna won the gold medal for his Spoliarium. The Assassination of Governor General Fernando Bustamante y Rueda is a controversial painting for its depiction of the Dominican friars as active participants in the murder of the Governor. In fact, Fr. Fidel Villaroel, Ph.D., a Spanish historian and Filipinologist from the University of Santo Tomas contends that the friars were im…

This small museum packs a punch

I love small museums where I don't have to rush from painting to painting so I can see everything in a few hours. I like to linger, take a photo if it's allowed, leisurely read the attribution card or the brochure and check out the works of art as meticulously as possible. The Yuchengco Museum in Makati is an ideal place to visit and learn about Philippine art in an intimate setting. It wows with its collection of paintings by the masters of Philippine art including Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos "Botong" Francisco and a host of other artists, some of whom I've included below. During my visit in July, I was lucky to have seen the Benedicto Cabrera Tribute Exhibition, BenCab in Two Movements.

The Lopez Museum & Library

España y Filipinas, Juan Luna Oil in canvas, 1886
The Philippines has a rich artistic heritage. Following the lead of Juan Novicio Luna who earned a gold medal for his painting, Spolarium, at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes in Madrid in 1884, many Filipino artists have gained international recognition and left an indelible mark in the art world. 
In this painting, España y Filipinas, two women representing Spain and the Philippines are seen with their back to the viewer. Spain or the motherland has her arm around the Philippines and she is pointing to a bright horizon. Notice the elaborate red dress of Spain compared to the simple dress of the Filipina. Class distinction is obvious here. The Philippines was under Spanish rule for 400 years and that bright spot on the horizon is supposed to signify progress with Spain leading the way.  It might as well be the prospect of independence.  (A few years after this painting was.created, the Philippines declared its independence from …

Pioneers in Philippine Art

By Rosario Charie Albar

When I first heard about this exhibition, I was disappointed to learn that the works of Carlos “Botong” Francisco would not be part of the show. That said, the 38 paintings and sketches by Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Fernando Zobel, now on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, is an impressive collection spanning 100 years of Philippine Art.

Each of these three artists studied and honed their craft in Europe or the United States. As such, their works reflect Western art trends of their respective periods. Juan Luna lived both in Madrid and Paris. His Woman with Shawl (1880-1890) and Lady at the Racetrack (1880-1890) show influences of the Impressionist style of painting. Impressionism had burst into the art scene in France in 1884, precisely the time Luna won the First Gold Medal for his painting, Spoliarium, at the Exposicion de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Luna’s later sketches of Ragamuffin and Study for People and Kings show his foray into the s…