As we enter the National Museum of the Philippines “Spoliarium” 1884, oil on canvas A National Cultural Treasure by Juan Luna surprise us upon entering the hall. The super- sized painting depicts dark hollow beneath the Roman arena referred as the Spoliarium where the bodies of slain gladiators are being dragged away for disposal. For Luna, the lifeless gladiators represent the Filipinos during the Spanish period.
Across the Spoliarium is the stunning painting by Hildalgo of The Assassination of General Bustamante and His Son. The painting depicts the murder of the governor in the hands of the friars and supporters and it was also inspired by true to life took place in Manila, year 1717. There’s also a whole room filled with Fernando Amorsolo’s sketches, paintings and memorabilia. At the center of the room is the Jose Ruiz Kariton Kathedral- a contemporary artwork representing the church and the reality faced by the faithful.
The museum’s visual arts collection extends to the galleries on the second floor. It is in this exhibit hall where visitors view sample works of pre-war artists like Simon Flores, Fabian de la Rosa, Dominador Castaneda, Diosdado Lorenzo, and Felix Martinez. Together they are displayed side-by side with the works of contemporary artists like Nunelucio Alvarado, Nena Saguil, Romeo Tabuena, Jaime De Guzman, and Julie Lluch.
These artworks show us the creativity of Filipino and we can also see the life of the Filipino have in the Philippines as every point of it tells history. Rizal interpreted the Spoliarium as a symbol of ‘our social, moral, and political life. And so do other paintings, humanity unredeemed, reason and aspiration. Through these paintings, we can see the country’s norms before where many Filipino were slaved and murdered brutally. Comparing for today’s’ where life has an importance.
To conclude, these works of art has continued to move direction in terms of innovation, since art is functional. The artists behind those paintings help our country to be known by their creativity and imagination giving us enhancements and emotions. It brings positive outcome to children and especially on students like us, motivating us to rediscover, to be eager on history of the Philippines, and to recognize well our own artists.
Courtney from Study Moose
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