Tuesday, January 21, 2014

National Museum of the Philippines - National Art Gallery, Part 2

The National Museum also features a wealth of religious works from all over the Philippines. Icons and images such as statues and paintings reflect our Roman Catholic heritage, one we got via Spanish conquest. Most of the Philippine islands were under the Spanish for almost 400 years and various icons and images arrived from Europe and Mexico or were made by local artists and craftsmen. Many of these can still be found in old churches including those that have been declared or recognized as national treasures and even UN World Heritage Sites. Others have been stolen as they are coveted by antique collectors, never to be seen again in public. I think museums such as the National Museum should be repositories for such works due in part to their historical and heritage value.

An antique retablo on display at the museum together with other religious works
A depiction of St. Michael Archangel as a Castillian knight vanquishing Moors. That's another  retablo in the background.
Antique statues of various saints include the patrons and/or founders of the major orders - St. Francis of Assisi, St. Dominic, St. Augustine, and St. Ignatius of Loyola
Another view of the collection of religious works at the National Museum
A old painting (oil on wood?) depicting the scene at the crucifixion of Christ
A view from the other end of the room showing other icons. I recall the one on display in this room were mostly made of wood and not the more precious (in terms of monetary value) ivory images.

At the time of our visit, the museum had on display a set of paintings on loan from the City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur. The paintings show scenes depicting the events leading to and concluding the Basi Revolt of 1807.
These paintings are part of a collection depicting scenes about the Basi Revolt in 1807. Note the prominence of a comet in the paintings - an ominous sign throughout history.
Another painting showing the events of the 1807 Basi Revolt with Ilocanos bearing their striped banner.
Spanish forces (officers on horse) meet the revolutionaries. Spanish forces were actually comprised of a few Spaniards (usually only officers) but with a significant force from other provinces under them like the Tagalogs and Kapampangans. It's the divide and conquer approach to subjugating regions that express discontent. Note again the prominence of  the comet in the painting.
More on the museum's collections in a future post!

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