National Museum of Fine Arts, Philippines
The National Museum of Fine Arts, in Padre Burgos, Manila is comprised of 29 galleries and exhibitions which feature the works of the great Filipino artists throughout Philippine history. The structure itself started its life as the old legislative building which was home to both the Philippines congress and the senate at different time periods. During the war, the building was taken over by Japanese forces and used as a base which was eventually bombarded by the Americans. Though heavily damaged, the four-storey Neo-classical building was painstakingly rebuilt and restored to its former glory. Over the years it was utilized as the backdrop of many notable national historical events, conventions, and presidential inaugurations, just adding to its status as one of the remarkable settings in the Philippines' colorful past.
Presently the building is home to the National Museum of Fine Arts, fittingly showcasing masterpieces from a history it has lived through - the colonial period, the Japanese occupation, independence, to life as we know it.
One of the more notable pieces in the museum, Juan Luna's Spoliarium is imposingly displayed in the main gallery and greets all visitors who are about to start their tour through the halls of the museum. The harrowing gladiator scene sets the stage for a journey through time telling the story of the Philippines through magnificent artworks as seen through the lenses of the country's best and most talented artists throughout history.
Visitors of the museum are treated to a unique experience, one that can only be relished within its walls which breathe art and creativity to its core. From the magnificent architecture of the building itself, to the creative gems proudly displayed within, the National Museum of Fine Arts is a must-see for all Filipinos and all lovers of history and the arts.
Currently the home of Juan Luna's famous Spoliarium painting. This painting was completed after 8 months and was sent to Barcelona, Spain for an exhibit. This painting has been restored several times due to damage from shipping it from one place to another (Barcelona-Madrid-Philippines). Due to its large size, it was once cut into three parts to make it fit in a shipping crate. Definitely a must see historical piece.
Gallery I/Luis I Ablaza Hall
Christian themed paintings and sculptures from the 17th to 19th Centuries.
Gallery II/Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines, Inc. Hall
14 paintings of the Stations of the Cross depicting the condemnation and death of Jesus Christ by an unknown Bohol Artist.
Gallery III/Ramon and Milagros Del Rosario Family Hall
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Collection of paintings of early religious images by local Filipino artists.
Gallery IV/Fundación Santiago Hall
Portraits of religious and prominent people from the 19th century.
Gallery V/Dr. Jose Rizal Hall
Works of Dr. Jose Rizal from his earlier years as a student up until when he was an established writer and artist.
Gallery VI/Far East Bank and Trust Company – Andrés and Grace Luna de San Pedro Memorial Hall
Juan Luna's works and oil studies acquired from his family. This gallery also exhibits Felix Hidalgo's work, Juan Luna's good friend and contemporary.
Gallery VII/ Special exhibition Hall
Prominent families drawn in Foto-óleo style - hand painting directly on black and white photographs. This was popular among middle class and prominent Filipino families to signify their social status.
Gallery VIII/Silvina and Juan C. Laya Hall
Works in this gallery depict the hurt and suffering of the Filipinos from the Imperial Japanese Occupation and the destruction of Manila.
Gallery Ix/Early 20th Century Philippine Portrait Hall
Displayed here are works of portraiture by artists with classical realism style, a medium that was dominated by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo who also made an impact on younger artists.