Sunday, June 26, 2016

#WeekendChronicles: National Museum of the Philippines

And so, the weekly getaway continues. Next stop: the National Museum of the Philippines. It's a bit embarrassing to declare that it was our first time visiting the museum considering the fact that we live so close by... but hey, it's never too late to try. 

Besides, the National Museum extended its free admission throughout June because of the Philippine  Independence Day (June 12) and Dr. Jose Rizal's birth anniversary (June 19)! The free admission covers their flagship museums in Manila: NM of Fine Arts  and NM of Anthropology. It also covers the NM Planetarium, as well as those in the regions: Vigan, Kiangan, Kabayan, Angono-Binangonan Pteroglyphs, Tabaco, Bohol, Butuan and Jolo (Sulu). We visited the National Art Gallery

So if you haven't visited it yet, or you just have some free time to kill, better do it to appreciate the art and beauty of the Philippine history as seen through the NM's exhibits. Luckily, in line with this auspicious month for the Philippines, they also opened the Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasures) and "Remembering Joya" (which we absolutely loved!) exhibitions this month!

In transit.
We commuted from Cavite. It was a pretty quick commute, 1-2 hours tops.

Arriving at the Museum: It was a typical day, but there were many people, mostly students, because of their promo. I have high expectations for this is the first time I am visiting the site -- and  thinking that this big building houses so much memento of the Philippine history just about blows my mind. It is a really freaky, but amazing thing if you think about it.

Beyond this door lies the Philippines' Treasures!
This post will contain so many pictures, so beware. :D More of this after the jump! 

Spoliarium by Juan Luna y Novicio
The first thing that greeted us is the famed Juan Luna masterpiece, the Spoliarium. Seeing this for the first time was track-stoppingly awesome. The massiveness of it, knowing its historical significance, the gorgeousness of the painting. Viewing this up close, where you can almost see the strokes of the paint on the canvass, was so surreal.

Details of "Spoliarium"
Will forever be in awe of this masterpiece.

We can't resist posing for a picture. So many people are taking turns posing in front of this piece. Good thing one girl was nice enough to take a picture of us.

El Asesinato del Gobernador Bustamante by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo
Directly opposite is this Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo masterpiece. It is the Hidalgo piece that bagged the silver during the 1884 Madrid Exposition, the year the Spoliarium won the gold.

Walked into an exhibit of sculptures of Saints from old churches. Most them were carved from wood. Some of it are more than a hundred year old, it's hard to imagine how these were preserved as they are today.

Nuestra Senora de las Nieves by Adorable Castro Andrade

Recuerdo de Patay (Memento Mori) of a Child by Simon  Flores y de la Rosa
I find this work pretty creepy, but it still pulled us in nonetheless.

Prehistoric Man by Isabelo Tampinco y delos Reyes

Bust of Dr. Jose Rizal by Guillermo E. Tolentino
There was an entire exhibit (Gallery V) dedicated to our National Hero that ranges from his drawings (his own sketches, even), portraits, and sculpted busts. 

Student Works in Italy, including Rome, Venice and Naples by Juan Luna y Novicio
The Museum also has a vast collection of Juan Luna's works. 

Bust of Juan Luna y Novicio

I'm not sure if many people know this but one interesting event to note is his murder of his wife and his mother-in-law due to a fit of jealousy. The painting (whose picture is posted above), Peuple et Rois (People and Kings), was supposed to be entered in a competition but he failed to do so because of his arrest and subsequent trial.

Above is also one of Luna's works, but I failed to get its name. The picture did not do it any justice, but look how vivid the colors still are despite the age. Amazing, isn't it?

Even the frame details are surreal. 

Philippine Scenes by Juan Luna y Novicio

Japanese Scenes by Juan Luna y Novicio

Japanese Scenes by Juan Luna y Novicio
I particularly liked Luna's depiction of Philippine and Japanese sceneries.

Rape and Massacre in Ermita by Diosdado M. Lorenzo
A gallery (Gallery VIII) was dedicated to works depicting the era of the War, specifically the Imperial Japanese Occupation and the destruction of Manila. This particular gallery presented works that depicted disturbing scenes related to the Japanese cruelties experienced by the Filipinos.

A Tragic Lesson (The Fall of Bataan) by Gene Cabrera

The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines by Carlos "Botong" V. Francisco
This was such a massive piece of work. This series of four paintings depicted the evolution/progress of the medical practice in the Philippines.

A poor attempt at capturing its entirety. XD

Portrait of Jose P. Laurel

Landscapes (Various Drawings) by Fernando C. Amorsolo
Various freehand sketches of Amorsolo are in exhibit. Some of them even have a separate sketch at the back, which were also displayed as pictures for it to be viewed,

Ina ng Lahi (Mother of Filipinos) by Jose P. Alcantara

Close up of Ina ng Lahi

Portrait of a Lady (Unfinished) by Fernando Amorsolo y Cueto
This is an unfinished work by Amorsolo. "This painting was being worked upon by the artist, and was the very last to receive his attention, upon his death in April 24, 1972."

Rural Scene (After the Rain) by Serafin Serna
This caught my attention. The sullen, unexplained gloomy feeling you get after (or even during) a rain was captured in here. For some reason, that's what I felt looking at this piece. The picture did not do it justice.

Social Cancer by Jaime Montero

Spiral Staircase  at the Old Legislative House
Even the spiral staircase is a work of art in itself. 

Man and Industry (Study) by Vicente Silva Manansala
Considering when this piece was made (1962), it is evident that Manansala was really an artist ahead of his time.

A Sketch of Maria Clara (ink on paper) by Vicente Silva Manansala

Planting of the First Cross by Vicente Silva Manansala
This Manansala piece portrays the introduction of Christianity to the Philippines.

So lucky to be able to see this Joya exhibit. In my opinion, besides seeing the Spoliarium and the Parisian Life in person, this part of the museum was my favorite. This was opened to commemorate the late National Artist's 85th birth anniversary (June 8).

A Sketch of West Lake, Hangzhou, China by Jose T. Joya
Intricate sketches using colored pen and ink on paper depicting different sceneries were exhibited. This was a personal favorite.

Warm Afternoon by Jose T. Joya
That distinct brush stoke, and multi-dimensional abstract. This was a unique style that truly labels Joya as a contemporary.

Puti by Jose T. Joya

Red Song by Jose T. Joya
Details of Space Transfiguration by Jose T. Joya
You might observe that I've taken quite a handful of pictures of his works relative to others. You're not wrong. I am obsessed with his style. Look at the details! I've taken quite a number of closeups (some of them not uploaded) because, truly, his works are divine.

Abstract by Jose T. Joya
This was painted over ceramic tiles.

Jade Carrier II by Solomon Saprid
This was made with copper and jade. Literally a jade carrier, that big green stone was pure jade.

Sa Pananambitan Dalangin ay Kagitingan (In Supplication, Courage is Hoped for) by ImeldaCajipe Endaya

Details of "Sa Pananambitan..."

Interior d'un Cafe (Parisian Life) by Juan Luna y Novicio
Luna's Parisian Life in all its glory! I've searched the galleries for this one because I was really looking forward to see this in person. I've always encountered it during my history lessons at school and I've only seen it in books. The painting was medium-sized, I guess, but it was still surreal having to see it right there and there. I wished I visited this museum sooner. :)

Rice Fields by Fernando Amorsolo

Under the Mango Tree by Fernando Amorsolo

Hulat sweldo by Nunelucio Alvarado

Sarimanok by Abdulmari Asia Imao
Details of "Sarimanok"

Abstraction 58, Naiad, Scented Sheath (from L to R) by Jose T. Joya

Details of Abstraction 58, Naiad, and Scented Sheath (from L to R)
Close up of the details for Joya's works, again. I told you, I am obsessed.

Palette of Masters
Untitled Painting by Romulo Galicano
This was dubbed as the "Palette of Masters" as it belonged to not one, not two, not even three -- but FIVE prominent Philippine artists, 2 of them National Artists. 

The description reads:
"Having passed two National Artists' hands from Botong to Amorsolo, and then to prominent artitsts Cruz and Sym, this cleaned palette was painted over by Galicano in 1997 to commemorate its special provenance, and as a gift to his wife Christy. Heir to Hidalgo's practice of painting on the palette, Galicano also appreciated the exceptional quality of this hardwood art material."

First owned by Carlos "Botong" V. Francisco (CV Francisco)
Fernando C. Amorsolo (FC Amorsolo)
Emilio Aguilar Cruz (EA Cruz)
Sofronio Ylanan Mendoza (SYM)
Romulo Galicano (R. Galicano)

Memorabilia of Emilio "Abe" Aguilar Cruz
Flatlay 101, right? These are memorabilia of Emilio Aguilar Cruz. From tickets, to canes, to pipes, even identification cards.

Rajah Sulayman, his Court and the Palisades by Napoleon Abueva
Details of "Rajah Sulayman"

All in all, it was a very nice and enriching day. My feet hurts having to walk for almost 2 hours without rest but to stare at the works of art. But it was worth it!. :) 

Conquered the National Museum! #NgitingAccomplished
Looking forward to seeing other collections located in Manila. It was a very rewarding experience, definitely coming back for more. :)

Promote the Philippine culture, book a trip now! Visit the National Museum's official website here. Regular rate for adults is 150.00. The National Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, with free admissions on Sundays -- so, really, there's no reason to not visit it, right? Spend you weekend right, people! :P

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