I dropped by the Lopez Museum recently where I saw a wide collection of paintings from the likes of Filipino greats, Hidalgo and Luna, and the other well known Filipino artist like Joya, Ayala and Amorsolo. Lopez Sr. according to what I read was an ardent collector, who would travel to Europe in search of invaluable Filipino paintings (he also collected books & old maps).
The museum also have an amazing library, with their oldest book dating back 1512 if my memory serves me right. Unbelievable, Filipiniana section. While I was there they had already begun digitizing their collection. They have old magazines and newspapers that are great aides if one is to study the events of the past. I’m planning to go back and research there soon. Theres currently an on going display of pictures and maps of places that once stood but now are gone, like the churches of Intramuros and some other landmarks from the past(the Jai Alai bldg for example) that already gave way to the modern structure we see now, they call the exhibit Efface.
The Lopezes’ are giants in different areas of business here in our nation, I would say it straight that I was not happy with them with the recent Meralco issue, news that has been dominating the media as of late, but let me say that I was really delighted to see the efforts taken by the Lopezes’ starting with Lopez Sr and now the great grandson who oversees the Museum operation in preserving the classic works of our home grown heroes. I appreciate their work on preserving our heritage. I was really moved. Lopez Sr has been very civic minded, his contributions were actually recognized by a marker outside the museum. ( I believe this one was originally placed on the old museum grounds in Nakpil)
I very much enjoyed my short visit here where I found some of the paintings I’ve been longing to see. I even saw a drawing by Rizal, a pencil sketch of Michaelangelo, it was a portrait of the artist head with his name written below. The hero probably idolized the creator of the Sistine Chapel, a true renaissance man. For me this drawing is to date, the best, the most detailed drawing of his that I have seen. If Rizal was not preoccupied by his other works I’m certain that he could rival if not surpass the best of our painters during his time, he was a painter when he was a young man. Painting, one of his first love. Of course this admiration was coming from me, a Rizalist by heart.
I ‘ve been looking forward for this visit, for I have been longing for years to see one of Luna’s greatest creation, España y Filipinas. I was awed by its beauty and of course its message to the observer, to some its hidden symbolism. This was definitely Luna, so grand, so real. I really got excited when I first had a glimpse of this particular Luna for it seems that, light emanates from its canvas. It is as if your peeking out of your window, seeing sunshine and real people walking by. You get the feeling that its alive.
The tour guide told me that there are few academe’s who have visited the museum and chatted with him about its meaning. Some has expressed that the commisioned Luna work, was un-nationalistic, that it was a depiction of submission and oppression by Spain, my question is how can it be, am I missing something here?
I plainly see it as two women walking up the ladder with the Spanish lady pointing to the source of the light while a Filipina willingly walking beside her. A scene of frienship were the one that knows the way, guides the one, unfamiliar with the path they were threading. Even on the same steps are the ladies, both wearing their traditional attires, they look awesome with their semi naked back! Luna really knows how to paint women. Anyway, this interpretations would depend on who’s observing. Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder.
This are creations representing its time. Hidalgo’s work in the collection, includes some of his study before finalizing his “Assasination of Govenor Bustamante”. it was awesome, I suggest viewing his collection of drafts before visiting his final masterpiece at the Museo Nacional, for one would appreciate it more. He separately drew the characters before composing them together. The “Un Guerrero” was of course beautiful too, it was dark and strong.
Hidalgo was very detailed and technical. I’m not much of art connoisseur but looking at his work I begun imagining how he conceptualize the his creations. Viewing his paintings made me proud that at that time, when so many people looked down on us, they made their homeland proud. They were among the best in their profession.The best Filipinos!
One other thing that really impressed me was that , the Lopez Museum had been investing a lot on preservation work. They have actually preserved some of the oldest painting in their collection. With the help of a team composed of chemist and artist, they had been meticulously working on a number of paintings. Such venture would surely benefit art pieces nationwide. I sure hope that they would share the technology and spread it. Preservation work is very important if we intend to make this masterpieces, our heritage, our pride, safe, for the future generation.
with Lopez Museum guide Tavy(?), very knowledgeable guy, he knows his turf!
Visit Lopez Museum @ Benpres Building, Exchange Road corner Meralco Avenue, Pasig. Museum days and hours are Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., except Sundays and holidays. Entrance fee is P60 for elementary students, P80 for high school and college students, and P100 for adults. For more information call 631-241