Thursday, October 25, 2012

Visiting the National Musem, Part 1

Another trip to Divisoria last Tuesday gave me the chance to drop by the National Museum before going home. I arrived there around 3:30 PM and that gave me one and a half hour before they close for the day at 5 PM.

The admission to the museum is free for the entire month of October. You just walk in and register at the front desk and that's it.

You can take pictures but you cannot use flash. And don't even think of bringing a tripod. Hehe I was asked to leave my small tripod at the baggage counter.

So here are some photos for you. Click on the small slide film to enlarge.

So the very first artwork that you'll see is the grandest of all. The 128 year old  and approximately 23 x 13 foot oil painting, by our very own Juan Luna entitled Spoliarium. A spoliarium is a place in the ancient Roman Colosseum where the not-so-lucky gladiators are brought into, after losing in a death match. This painting took 18 months to finish and it won Luna a gold medal in the Exposicion de Bellas Artes in Madrid back in 1884. It is the Philippines' largest painting.

Opposite the Spoliarium is another large painting by Felix Hidalgo entitled La Tragedia de Gobernador Bustamante (The Assasination of Governor Bustamante). In the painting you'll find Spanish priests attacking the appointed Spanish Governor General to the Philippines. "Oh he must be one corrupt man", you would think. But Governor Bustamante was responsible for jailing a lot of corrupt Spanish officials, tax evading Chinese merchants and yes, even the powerful personages in the clergy who benefited from them. October 1719, the first People Power in the Philippines took place, led by Catholic priests, whose goal is to bring down the "evil" Governor Bustamante. Does this story of corruption, conspiracy and deceit sound familiar to you?

Anyways, enough of beautiful paintings depicting horrible scenes. There are 8 galleries in here. The first gallery that I checked out is my favorite. The contemporary feel of the orange walls and black-and-white checkered floors makes an interesting contrast with the weathered wooden religious statuary and relief. If you are fond of antique Christian rebultos, this gallery would be a treat!

In the other end of the orange gallery are old concrete and plaster statues and other relics. 

One of my favorite pieces in this gallery is this wooden sculpture, The Child Jesus Bearing His Sacred Heart by Graciano Nepomuceno. It is life-sized and was made in 1937. So nicely proportioned.

There's a gallery that is dedicated to our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. You'll find paintings and sculptures of him there. This painting entitled Rizal the Reformist, by Martino Abellana, was made in 1960.

There aren't so many items in the Jose Rizal gallery, but you will at least get to see art done by Jose Rizal himself, like this terracotta sculpture entitled Mother's Revenge, depicting a dog biting a crocodile to save her pup. You know, it would be nice to make cast reproductions of Rizal's small sculptures but that's gonna put the original artwork in a big risk of being damaged.

The gallery that showcased bones and taxidermy is my least favorite. Most of the skeletons are of domesticated animals. You'll find there the skeleton adaptation  of Rizal's sculpture Mother's Revenge. The gallery is a bit dim so as to emphasize lighted presentations. Kinda spooky. But the sperm whale skeleton is worth seeing.

Another gallery showcases works by Filipino Masters. This unfinished painting on an easel, in a set that includes an artist's chair and  service table, is by Fernando Amorsolo (1892-1972)

 You will find more than one wall filled by Amorsolo's doodles.

This is a painting of the dude who did the Spoliarium, Juan Luna (1857-1899) by Fabian de la Rosa (1869-1937). De la Rosa is uncle and mentor to Amorsolo.

In another gallery you will find works by famous 20th Century Filipino artists such as the cubist painter and illustrator Vicente Manansala (1910-1981). This bust of him in bronze is made by Napoleon Abueva in 1998.

This abstract painting entitled Hills of Nikko is by Jose Joya (1931-1995). Joya is a National Artist Awardee and a former dean of the University of the Philippines' College of Fine Arts (where I should have studied hehe) I love the color and texture of this piece.

This is a closer look at Bencab's Manggagawa. Benedicto Cabrera (born 1942), AKA Bencab is a National Artsist for Visual Arts Awardee. He has been noted as "arguably the best selling painter of his generation of Filipino artitst."

Take a peak inside this grand hall that used to be the Senate Hall of the Philippines. Nice neo-classical interior. The wood parquet flooring gave it the Pinoy touch. This place would be awesome for mini conciertos.

There's a gallery that display probably hundreds of these illustrations of Philippine flora. These are done by Spanish botanist Juan de Cuellar between 1786 to 1797. These are the original illustrations in ink, tempera and watercolor on laid paper and they are a gift to us by His Majesty the King of Spain.

There's one gallery for our national costumes. You'll find those from ethnic groups as well as Spanish colonial  attires. I wish there were more though. The ethnic woven fabrics look interesting.

I didn't remember that the National Museum has another building. This building cannot be seen from Taft Avenue. I believe this is where the archaeological finds are kept. Too bad I didn't get to see it. It was already 5 o'clock. I'll come back soon and will try to get there early. So watch out for part 2 of my National Museum trip. ^_^

No comments:

Post a Comment