A Silent Witness to History
|The National Museum's Main Building|
|Rajah Sulayman and His Pallisades; Legazpi and the Founding of Manila; Zoning Plan of the City of Manila|
A Crossing of Paths
Art, legend, religion and history crossed paths as I made my way around the museum's galleries and rooms. It somehow felt like being in a dream where one sees a lot of closed doors and does not know what exciting things await until a door is opened. Making the experience more surreal was the fact that I was practically alone in my exploration!
In one of the galleries, I felt like I saw Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal without his overcoat and bowler hat. Take a closer look at his work below:
|Made by Filipino hero Dr. Jose Rizal|
In that same gallery were paintings that depicted the sufferings of Filipinos when Japanese soldiers attacked the Philippines. The violence and atrocity during the Second World War seemed to have come to life, especially in this art work:
Over at the Grace Luna de San Pedro Collection, I was astounded by the art work of the brilliant Filipino artist Juan Luna, especially his "Unknown Luna" paintings. It made me wonder what could have led to Luna's tragic family life, considering the beautiful things he captured on canvas. I believe his works are best appreciated in person, especially when you see the intense colors and the outstanding interplay of light and shade.
|Master Painter Juan Luna and his works|
The gods and goddesses of the Philippine islands seemed to have come down at the Vessels of Faith gallery, probably challenging me on my beliefs on life, death, and what lies beyond.
|Does one go to heaven or some place else?|
Naturally, Hidalgo's, Manansala's and Amorsolo's paintings seemed to transport me to another place and time in history. Amorsolo's art, in particular, renewed my pride about our country's culture and traditions, and I could only wish that I was a subject of a Fernando Amorsolo painting like these people:
|Portraits by National Artist Fernando Amorsolo|
The National Museum Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5 p.m. To preserve the paintings, flash photography is not allowed. At present, there are no guides in the museum although there are some travel and tour groups that offer a guided exploration of the museum's galleries for a fee.