Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Appreciating Art Inside the National Art Gallery

I've been inside this Old Legislative Building a numerous times already, but never did I look beyond the mixes of pigments and shapes of the art works inside. Normally I would just stroll inside, look at a painting, read its label then move on to the next piece of art. I really don't know how to appreciate an artwork, how to interpret its symbolism and allegory.

Good thing I have learned something from my Humanities class. And that something helped me to look beyond the strokes of paint brush, mixes of pigments and combinations of shapes. Thanks to my professor, Ms Peña, for waking the artist in me.

Our final exam in Humanities involves art appreciation inside the National Art Gallery of the National Museum. And so we went there last Tuesday (10/04/2011). 

| The National Museum has two major galleries: 1) the National Art Gallery which occupies the Old Legislative Building, and the 2) Museum of the Filipino People which occupies the Old Finance Building. The National Art Gallery has the collection of the works of the National Artists as well as the works of the Masters Luna and Hidalgo. The other gallery, the Museum of the Filipino People, contains priceless artifacts and archaeological findings including the famous Manunggul Jar. 

Since the National Art Gallery is found at the Old Legislative Building, you will find at the facade two bronze statues of prominent legislators during the Commonwealth of the Philippines. They're Manuel Quezon and Sergio Osmeña, both became president of the Philippines.

The first gallery upon entering is the Hall of the Masters, or Bulwagang Luna at Hidalgo. Of course you will find inside the works of Juan Luna and Felix Hidalgo. These two are masters of fine arts who won the gold and silver in Madrid, they're actually activists during Rizal's time. Luna's masterpiece, no less than the "Spoliarium", dwarfed all other works inside the hall. Fronting it is Hidalgo's "La Tragedia de Gobernador Bustamante" which is also stunningly beautiful.

"Spoliarium" by Luna
"La Tragedia de Gobernador Bustamante" by Hidalgo

Other galleries contain the works of other great artists such as Fernando Amorsolo and Carlos "Botong" Francisco. We were fortunate that they allowed us to take pictures inside (without flash).

"The Mother's Revenge", a work of Rizal. Jose Rizal is a good visual artist and a sculptor as well
Botong Francisco's "Evolution of the Philippines Medicine"
an unfinished portrait by Amorsolo
sketch version of Amorsolo's "Fruit Pickers under the Mango Tree"
replica of the famous Manunggul Jar

Another interesting place to visit inside the Old Legislative Building is its old Session Hall of the Senate of the Philippines. The historic hall have witnessed numerous sessions since 1926. It is currently under a major renovation, but colonial art is evident by the looks of the wall sculptures and columns inside.

Old Session Hall of the Senate of the Philippines

Before we left, we went first at the back of the museum where another work of Filipino craftsmanship is displayed. The "Diwata ng Lahi", a wooden boat used by our ancestors in crossing the waters of the Philippine Islands, is proudly seen from Taft Avenue.  


National Art Gallery is free for 2011. The museum is celebrating their 110th Anniversary.

How to get into the National Museum

People may reach the museum through LRT line 1. LRT UN station is just a few meters away from the building. People may also consider riding jeeps that run along Taft Avenue, all of them pass by this building.    


National Museum

National Art Gallery
Museum of the Filipino People


  1. Wow,, the last time I went here was for our art studies class last 2008. Andami nang nagbago, including that boat which i think used to be inside the building.

    Sayang hindi pa ako nkakapunta dun sa Old Senate! I would check it one of these days!!!

    P/S: Pwede pala magdala ng camera sa loob? :(

  2. It's been a long time since I went to the National Museum. Your photos and write up really sparked my interest in revisiting. If not soon, someday when Luna's a bit older so I could show her Filipino art!

  3. im impressed. i wasnt expecting those interesting items inside. kakahiya pero after 5 yrs of ignoring that place, parang gusto ko sya puntahan!

  4. Your photos of art are also works of art! Took photos of the same things, but my shots are just blah. Iba talaga ang artist. :)

  5. Byron, hndi mo tlga makikita yung old senate kasi laging nakasara yun dati.. nagkataon lang na yung pintuan yung inaayos kaya nakabukas yung hall..and pinayagan kami mag-picture sa loob, maybe because we're students..

    Gay, dapat tlga ma-meet ni Luna si Juan Luna :))

    Chyng, punta na, tamangtama kasi libre yung entrance ngayong taon..

    AJ, salamat po..

  6. Kung hindi pa dahil sa college field trip, di ko mapupuntahan to, starstruck lang sa Spoliarium :)

  7. Envy this! You already know why. *Bitter parin sa bawal daw ang cam rule* Hehe :)

  8. Grabe. I'm so ignorant lang. Never pa ako nakapunta dito and ngayon ko lang nalaman that we had this. =))

  9. Great post Ivan. Nung soft opening ng National Art Gallery nung latter part ng 2007 or 2008 nasa lower part nung Old Senate Session Hall yung National Artist Exhibit na ngayon ay nasa baba na. Bukas yung lower part nung hall, nakatago yung upper part na puno ng reliefs (scupltures). We travel bloggers should devote posts to promote the National Museum and other museums in the Philippines as well as interesting and educational places to visit.

  10. nice one kid! minsan talaga tine-take for granted natin ang mga requirements sa school pero ang saya di ba? :)

  11. Been wanting to go back there for sometime na. Pwede ba mag picture kahit malaki camera?

  12. @claire, indeed, nakakastarstruck nga yung spoliarium nung una kong nakita yun.

    @Elal, oks lang yan, punta ka na lang uli, libre naman ang entrance.

    @Robbie, grabe lang. haha. punta na..

    @Caloy, tlga? hndi ko alam yun.. astig.

    @Blissfulguro, i agree.

    @Christian, yan ang hndi ko sure...

  13. Nyaker. Intayin ko na lang muna yung maliit kong camera before going there. Tripods di rin pede?

  14. nice! kailangan ba magpabook kung pupunta dito o pwede walk in visitors? at saka bawal ba magshoot ng pics sa loob?...

  15. @renan, wala nang book-book.. pasok na lang ng pasok.. haha. pwede ka mag picture as long as walang flash.

    1. kahit DSLR ang camera basta walang flash ok lang tol?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...