A Gallery of a National Artist – Beautiful Sunday

A Gallery of a National Artist – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108


It has been a while since we last visited an art gallery. Although I do not have the talent for art, my love and appreciation for the artwork grows each time I step in an art gallery. Spend a little time with me today in this quiet afternoon as I share with you artwork from our National artists Juan Luna and Francisco Hidalgo. Artworks from the 19th century  showcases the talent of our countrymen.

A Gallery of a National Artist

He is one of the first Filipino artist to be known in parts of the world. Juan Luna y Novicio more popularly known as Juan Luna has won gold medals and awards in Madrid. He is well known for his masterpiece called Spoliarium a colossal painting  more than 13 ft in height and more than 25 ft in length. A chilling sight of dead gladiators will leave you speechless.

In the hallway that leads to the galleries the Spoliarium will grab you instantly and leave you just staring at it for some time. It took him eight months to finish the masterpiece and has won the gold medal in Madrid in 1884, we all know why. Behind it all is his way of protest against the oppression during the Spanish rule. Today his artworks are worth a lot, most of them has already been sold in private auctions.

Inside the main gallery are what is left of his works. Most of them are his earlier works when he was still a student in Italy, Rome, Venice and Naples. This explains the European, Romantic and Renaissance styles in his works. He was not content in the art school he was attending and instead went under a Spanish painter named Alejo Vera. they became friends and he learned more about the art.

This section is a collection of his early works and I am not sure how much each piece would sell. Having a piece of his artwork is a treasure to have. The most expensive painting was sold thru an auction and fetched more than 46 million pesos which is around almost $870,000. The title of the painting is called ¿A Do…Va la Nave? a piece that was purchased by an unknown collector. To bad we can no longer see the painting and is probably hidden away in a mansion somewhere in the world.

My fascination for art was developed because of the works of Juan Luna. I would say that he is my favorite Philippine artist of all time. If I was extremely wealthy I would definitely pay a lot to get my hands on a piece of his work.

His inspiration comes from different parts of the world. As you could see below which looks like Egyptian artifacts and please do correct me if I am wrong.

He might have been to Egypt in his earlier years as the painting below suggests.

His time in Spain has influenced a lot of his works. From the streets, military and industrial areas, he captured scenes that are extra ordinary. Today looking at his paintings is like staring back thru time.

The works below

Interior of the Robert Steel Mill 1893

Blast Furnaces of Vizcaya 1893

Ingot Casting Floor of the Blast Furnace in Barkaldo 1893

La  Vizcaya 1894

The collection are from the industrial area in Spain.

This section contains his works from Spain that is inspired by soldiers, weapons and armors. These paintings had no information in regards to the title of each piece.

He created a piece called Le Batalle de Lepanto when he was commissioned by the Spanish Senate. The painting can be view at the Palacio del Senado in Madrid.

Flowers and in the background seems to be a helmet of a soldier. I could not tell the back story behind this portrait. It maybe a funeral and the flowers are for the fallen soldier.

I love how he captures details on the armors. It would have been more interesting if we had an expert to tell us more detail about each piece.

With the painting below it may have been a part of the Spanish and Moroccan conflict. It was times of war and from it inspired works of art.

A Spanish soldier fallen on one knee suggesting that he may have been injured during a battle.

The lower part looks unfinished, but still it adds to the mystery and beauty of this piece.

Now it is time for some local scenes from the the Philippines. This section contains scenery and daily normal life in our country.

I do not often see Luna doing landscapes, but here we have them.

A local scenery of women gathering fish off the boats.

A fresh take from foreign scenery. I was so impressed by his works and realized I never payed much attention to his local subjects.

Another Filipino artist who is also well renowned, a friend of Luna his name is Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. He also won may awards abroad. The two met in Paris and even competed with each other’s work during an exhibit.

His popular work is entitled La Barca de Aqueronte

Please check the link as it will show you an extra ordinary piece about a boatman taking souls to Hades.

The Piece below is called La Enferma from the 1900s.

My wife prefer the works of Hidalgo over Luna as she says that the faces of his paintings are so clear. I may agree a bit on that, but Luna’s strokes are more artistic in my point of view. But Hidalgo’s La Barca de Aqueronte definitely was bewitching.

Another piece from Hidalgo called El Desierto

A scene of melancholy as  a maiden stares at the sea, maybe waiting for her lover to arrive. A lover that may have perished already from war and is not coming back home.

Going back to Luna he also did a lot of portraits. The title of the portrait below is “Una Bulaquena”.

The painting has been restored in 1978 by T.T. Bernardo

In this portrait I told my wife how Luna matched the detail and clearness of Hidalgo’s works.

There are artists who has a dark past and Luna unfortunately is one of them. Let us talk about one of the most talked about piece from Luna. Believed to be haunted and whoever owns the painting will be cursed with misfortune.

This piece is entitled “Mi Novia or Portrait of a Lady”. The lady in the portrait is Paz Pardo de Tavera the wife of Juan Luna. Luna accused Paz of having an affair. He loved his wife, but in a fit of rage due to jealousy he murdered his wife and mother in law. Luna was arrested and later on was released due to crimes of passion and due to temporary insanity at that time. It was common at that time in pardoning men who unfortunately kills their unfaithful wives.

From then on, it was believed that this portrait is cursed. From the stories when this painting was unveiled the spotlights exploded. The next owners fell to disease and died. Some owners lost their business and it was also sold to the daughter of the former president of the country. She had a miscarriage while in possession of this piece. In the end it was just donated to the National Museum.

Signed by Luna until now it is on display at the National Museum. People have dark pasts and in return sometimes it haunts your legacy. The curse could just be stories or plain coincidence, but I’ll leave it all to you to decide.

Thanks for joining me in this #Beautifulsunday. I hope you enjoyed the short walk, going thru the gallery of our National Artist. To all of you, art lovers out there I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

If you enjoyed this walk, I will share another part of this gallery in the next few days. There are too many pieces to share for this post, and if I did you’d probably spend a lot of time going thru it all.

Hope to see you again next time. Cheers!


All information sourced and photos are original shot from

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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm