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May 19, 2016

Mid-Morning Open Thread [Y-not]

Today's painting is by Juan Luna y Novicio (October 23, 1857 - December 7, 1899), "a Filipino painter, sculptor and a political activist of the Philippine Revolution during the late 19th century. He was one of the first recognized Philippine artists."

Although it appears his most important painting is Spoliarium, I prefer this one:


Juan Luna, Espana y Filipinas, 1886, oil on wood (enlarged images here)

Interesting stair detail here:


Follow this link (and scroll down) to see a photograph of the painting as it is displayed. It's nice to be reminded of the scale of some of these works of art, something that's often lost when we just look at them reproduced digitally.

The artist is highly revered by the Filipino people, not just for his art, but because of the role he played in their quest for independence. Read about his life and development as an artist here:

He returned to the Philippines in 1894 after an absence of 17 years. It is during this period of his return that he did remarkable portraits, especially of members of his family, that you have just seen this afternoon at the Lopez Museum. These portraits are characterized by a gentle condor, a somber delicadeza, and a lyric elegance. There is nothing sentimental about any of them. They are not showy paintings. In his portraits of Rosario Melgar, her sister-in-law, there is attempt to "improve" upon the subject nor the glamorize it -- as is also the case of this double portrait of his eldest sister Nena and his daughter Tinita, rendered in the subdued warn brown tones. This is among his last paintings.

Early in 1896, he left for Japan. Soon after he came back, a few weeks after the Cry of Balintawak, he was arrested for complicity in the Katipunan Revolt. By a streak good fortune, he was among those pardoned during the birthday of the King Alfonso XIII on May 27, 1897. The last two years of his life were devoted to diplomatic service, working for the Philippine revolutionary government. In 1898 he was appointed member of the Paris delegation to work the recognition of the Philippine Republic at the Treaty of Paris. In 1899 he was again appointed member of a delegation, this time to Washington, to press the Philippine claim for recognition as an independent republic. Both delegations ended in failure.

He died on December 7, 1899 in [Cabanatuan, Philippines says Wiki --Y-not], of a heart attack, at the age of 42.

This painting is a good excuse to learn a little bit about Philippine Independence (from the Spanish):

In April 1898, the Spanish-American War broke out over Spain's brutal suppression of a rebellion in Cuba. The first in a series of decisive U.S. victories occurred on May 1, 1898, when the U.S. Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey annihilated the Spanish Pacific fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. From his exile, Aguinaldo made arrangements with U.S. authorities to return to the Philippines and assist the United States in the war against Spain. He landed on May 19, rallied his revolutionaries, and began liberating towns south of Manila. On June 12, he proclaimed Philippine independence and established a provincial government, of which he subsequently became head.

His rebels, meanwhile, had encircled the Spanish in Manila and, with the support of Dewey's squadron in Manila Bay, would surely have conquered the Spanish. Dewey, however, was waiting for U.S. ground troops, which began landing in July and took over the Filipino positions surrounding Manila. On August 8, the Spanish commander informed the United States that he would surrender the city under two conditions: The United States was to make the advance into the capital look like a battle, and under no conditions were the Filipino rebels to be allowed into the city. On August 13, the mock Battle of Manila was staged, and the Americans kept their promise to keep the Filipinos out after the city passed into their hands.

While the Americans occupied Manila and planned peace negotiations with Spain, Aguinaldo convened a revolutionary assembly, the Malolos, in September. They drew up a democratic constitution, the first ever in Asia, and a government was formed with Aguinaldo as president in January 1899. On February 4, what became known as the Philippine Insurrection began when Filipino rebels and U.S. troops skirmished inside American lines in Manila. Two days later, the U.S. Senate voted by one vote to ratify the Treaty of Paris with Spain. The Philippines were now a U.S. territory, acquired in exchange for $20 million in compensation to the Spanish.

It took them another half a century to gain full independence from the U.S.

Open thread.

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posted by Open Blogger at 09:45 AM

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