The National Museum of the Philippines was established in 1901 as history and ethnographic museum in the Philippines. It is the official repository located at P.Burgos St., Manila; right next to Rizal Park.
There are 2 buildings in this museum. First is the National Art Gallery. There are 11 rooms in this building. This building is where the famous paintings and sculptures are preserved. Most of the art works in these building are historic. The second building is the Museum of the Filipino People. This building consists of the anthropological and archaeological things.
Last September 29, 2013 (Sunday), my Art Appreciation class—together with our professor, Sir Timothy Sanchez and my boyfriend, Gab—had a nice visit to the National Museum of the Philippines. My professor told us that it has been his dream to bring his students at this Museum. Our class was lucky to be able to grant that wish.
The museum has 11 rooms, and I’m gonna give you a mini tour on each.
The first is the Old House of Representatives Session Hall (also known as “The Hall of the Masters”). Here you will see paintings of artists from the 19th century, like Juan Luna and Felix Ressureccion Hidalgo. Works by today’s national artists are also exhibited in this room.
This is the most valuable painting made by Juan Luna. It has a size of 4.22 meters of height and 7.675 meters of width. The painting features a massacre caused by a gladiator fight during the Roman period. The painting is so big that they had to cut the painting into pieces just so they could transport it to the Philippines.
This painting is a dramatic representation of Governor General Fernando Bustamante’s murder in 1719. It shows a group of Dominican friars murdering Bustamente.
The second room is Gallery I (Luis I. Ablaza Hall). This room consists of relics and carved images of religious images or saints.
Third room is Gallery II (FCCP Hall). This is where the earliest Filipino paintings depicting historical events are exhibited. This includes paintings by Esteban Villanueva.
The Basi Revolt is a protest about the Wine monopoly of the Spanish government that took place in Ilocos Region. Esteban Villanueva was an eyewitness to this event and illustrated it in 14 large oil paintings.
The fourth room is Gallery III. This is where paintings from the academic and romantic period are exhibited. Most of the paintings here are works by Juan Luna, Lorenzo Guerrero, Gaston O’Farrell, Simon Flores, etc.
This was painted by Simon Flores on 1902. This is his way of showing people how to love life. This is his reminder of mortality. The image of a dead child shows that life is short and we should live it to the fullest. This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with this painting. Another reason why I like this painting is because of the child’s facial expression. Though she is dead, it looks as if she is smiling, showing that life after death is good. Well, that’s my interpretation of the painting. I’m not really sure of the real interpretation of this painting.
Juan Luna would paint the places he’s been to, and this painting of a cherry tree shows that he had been to Japan. It amazes me by the number of places he’s been to.
The fifth room would be Gallery IV (Fundación Santiago Hall). Most works at this gallery are by Félix Resurrección Hidalgo. This gallery focus on sculptures which also includes works of Isabelo Tampinco. Most of the sculptures here are images of angels and heavenly things.
The sixth room is Gallery V, where works of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s works are exhibited. These include his fine drawings—or should I say very detailed doodles—his sculptures, and paintings.
This clay sculpture made by Rizal shows a mother dog taking its revenge over a crocodile who ate her puppy. Rizal made this when he was exiled in Dapitan in 1894.
The seventh room is Gallery VI. This room includes works of late contemporary artists such as Fabian de la Rosa, Jorge Pineda, Irineo Miranda, Fernando Amorsolo, and more. These artists are successors of Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo.
The eight room is Gallery VIII (Silvina and Juan C. Laya Hall). This room is the continuation of Gallery VI. If you are wondering why there is no Gallery VII, well, I also don’t know why.
The ninth room is Gallery IX. Where works of Filipino modern artists such as Victorio Edades, Diosdado Lorenzo, Vicente Manansala, Carlos V. Francisco, Hernando R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, Manuel Rodriguez, Ang Kiukok, José Joya, Fernando Zobel, Mauro Malang, etc. are exhibited.
The tenth room is Gallery X (Museum Foundation of the Philippines Hall). This hall is dedicated to the progress of medicine in the Philippines. There four (4) big paintings by Carlos V. Francisco exhibited.
There’s another room that we countered, although I don’t know which was it. But anybeans, that room featured one of Juan Luna’s most controversial paintings, which is the Parisian Life. It shows a woman wearing a pearl colored dress, and behind her are 3 men having a conversation. There are many interpretations to that painting, and I’m too lazy to discuss all.
The second building, which is the Museum of the Filipino People, exhibits relics and shows how the historic Filipino lived. It shows that the Filipinos did have a way of living and that they are not barbaric. You will see here that Filipinos actually at on plates and that they have a system in living.
To know more about the National Museum of the Philippines, you can visit their website at nationalmuseum.gov.ph
The museum is free every Sunday and opens at 10:00am
Bring your family or friends to this museum! It will surely be worth it!