SPOLIARIUM BY JUAN LUNA IS THE FIRST ARTWORK THAT GREETS VISITORS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.

History of the National Museum and Spoliarium by Juan Luna

 

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES.

A trip to the National Museum is not expensive. In fact it is free if you choose to just read our snippet history of how the National Museum came to be.

National Museum used to be the Old Session Hall of the House of Representatives which first convened on this building located at Padre Burgos Street corner Finance Road on July 26, 1926 led by Speaker Manuel Roxas until 1933 and Speaker Quintin Paredes until 1935.

NATIONAL MUSEUM ALONG PADRE BURGOS STREET.
NATIONAL MUSEUM ALONG PADRE BURGOS STREET.

The Legislative Building was almost completely ruined during the Battle of Manila in 1945. The House of Representatives continued to convene here from the First to the Seventh Congress until the declaration of martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos on September 23, 1972. Congress was abolished and the lively hall fell empty and silent. Years later, the House of Representatives moved to Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

In the mid-1970s, the former House of Representatives Session Hall was given over to the National Museum as its main exhibition gallery, to feature the great painting Spoliarium by Juan Luna, which since its gift to the Philippines by the Spanish State in 1958 had been housed at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Padre Faura (now the Supreme Court). This historic grand hall remains dedicated to that purpose, in addition to featuring other masterworks of Philippine art, and today serves as the heart of the National Art Gallery.

SPOLIARIUM BY JUAN LUNA IS THE FIRST ARTWORK THAT GREETS VISITORS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.
SPOLIARIUM BY JUAN LUNA IS THE FIRST ARTWORK THAT GREETS VISITORS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.

Spoliarium is a painting – oil in canvas (422 cm x 767.5 cm), by Juan Luna submitted to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884 in Madrid, where it garnered the first gold medal (out of three). In 1886, it was sold to the Diputación Provincial de Barcelona for 20,000 pesetas. Spoliairum is the first work of art that greets visitors upon entry into the National Museum.

Luna‘s painting of Spoliarium depicting dying gladiators, was spent 8 months to finish.

Hundred works by Luna can also be seen at Gallery III alongside the works of Felix Hidalgo, Lorenzo Guerrero, Gaston O’Farrell, Felix Martinez, and National Cultural Treasures Feeding the Chicken by Simon Flores and Una Bulaquena by Juan Luna.

BUST OF JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO DISPLAYED AT GALLERY III OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.
BUST OF JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO DISPLAYED AT GALLERY III OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM.
THE FAMOUS PORTRAIT OF A LADY (UNDATED) BY JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO.
THE FAMOUS PORTRAIT OF A LADY (UNDATED) BY JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO.
UNA BULAQUENA (1895) BY JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO.
UNA BULAQUENA (1895) BY JUAN LUNA Y NOVICIO.

Entrance to the National Museum are: Php 150 (adult), Php 120 (senior citizen with ID), Php 50 (student with ID), and FREE for children below 4 years old. The National Museum is open daily from Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

*Photos taken during our mini tour and captured using Honor 6 smartphone.

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