His Art Our Heart: The Amorsolo Collection

fours hours of sleep and i find myself going under a hot hot shower to wake me up. my dear friend cat is picking me up in an hour's time and we're heading off to visit three museums.

contrary to my caveman attributes, i do appreciate some of the finer aspects of life. despite the fact that my art critique vocabulary is limited to "a-ha!", "uhhh", "huh?" i am sure i can muster more than those three, deeply meaningful gems of wisdom.

armed with my witty remarks, cat and i planned to visit the amorsolo collection, a tribute to the life's work of Fernando Amorsolo spread over seven museums all over metro manila. (click on read.more)

considering that we only have half a day, we figured we can only fit in three and made a choice to start in manila city for BayANInanding: The Motherland And The Harvest of Maestro Amorsolo (Metropolitan Museum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), head off to adjacent pasay city for Saliw: Rituals in Amorsolo's Art (GSIS Museum of Art, GSIS Building Financial Center) where we also got to see the infamous Parisian Life of Juan Luna that was the subject of a controversy over the purchase worth Php 45M by GSSIS President, Winston Garcia. Last stop for us was at the Ayala Museum where we walked through Amorsolo's Women, Concealed and Revealed.

in contrast with the Metropolitan gallery, the GSIS presentation is shoddy with poor lighting that did nothing for the artwork. the Metropolitan collection is much better and the curator did a clever job of arranging pieces that are related to each other.

apparently, amorsolo eventually went into reproducing themes (aka commercialism) of harvest and nature as "post cards" for the american patrons. it was a strange feeling of déjà vu every time we get to a painting and tried to remember where we've seen the same scene. for some reason, the art work of 40's leading to the 50's seem washed out and not as detailed as his earlier works. at one point in his life he was turning 50% of the commissioned work. postcard amorsolo.

Ayala Museum had the best collection for that day as majority of the work are commissioned by patrons of the artist and moneyed members of post world war two society. unfortunately, the fact that the work are commissioned by society belles suggest that amorsolo did more than just painted the visage of his subjects. liberal amount of body sculpting, skin tightening and downright paint surgery created lovely visions of regal women. truly, amorsolo is an impressionist.

cat and i still have the other four listed in our itinerary. interestingly, the remaining collections are more diverse in theme covering amorsolo's art in storytelling, his drawing studies, war themes and the tsinoy portait collection.

there was nothing that surprised me in the amorsolo collection as i have seen samples of the same theme and art in previous visits. on the other hand, my interest is piqued by the unusual themes of the other collections. perhaps another day when the cat and the bear prowl the alleys of museums for another look. hmmm.

Juan Luna's Parisian Life had its own room surrounded by articles written about the controversy surrounding its purchase. For such an "expensive" piece of art, there were no guards to be seen.

Visit the Amorsolo Website for more details and schedule of exhibits. Except for the ticket, all pictures are downloaded from the web. The museums have a strict NO-PEKTYUR and BIDYU policy. I swear, that's the filipino translation posted in Metropolitan Museum.

Disclaimer: I never claimed to be an art expert :)


Inday said…
Excerpts from Email:

I so envy you - had been an Amorsolo fan ever since I can remember. Did you know that Amorsolo took great photos of his subjects? That's probably the reason why his work is so painterly but precisely modelled. Looks like technology helped him.

Cat said…
Excerpts from Email:

When did you manage to take a photo of Parisian Life??? You're sneaky!

Also, sana you told me you would rather have seen the cartoons and the other stuff. I would have been willing to go all the way to UP and Ortigas for those as well. Just like you, I also was not surprised by the genre paintings as...I see them in my own backyard??? (Oh gosh I hope that didn't sound like a show off. But I don't know how else to say it)

Oh well an excuse for you to come back to Manila very soon...promise we will go to see the cartoons. And the Tsinoys. Who knows maybe they aren't as impressionistic as the women portraits.

Cacho said…
To Cat:

ha ha ha, i didn't want to take a sneaky picture of everything else after that embarrassing encounter with the lady guard. ser, no pektyur please. no bidyu.

ah.. then again, it's a perfect opportunity to come and visit again di bala? at least we're done with the ho-hum selection. next time i want to catch the "usual selections" i'm going to visit your backyard instead ha ha ha. btw dearie, there's no reason to apologize for the truth :)

cheerios luv!
Cacho said…
To Inday:

you're right, the exhibit actually posted some of the picture studies he made that became the inspiration for some of the paintings.

that famous "lady sa batis" painting is a derivative of a photo. yup... technology indeed :)

Mr. Jao said…
Awesome. Ang galing ng mga pektyurs. I love art and wished I can view these Amorsolo masterpieces, sadly the only Amorsolo I get to view is the dustry stretch road in Makati.
Cacho said…
Erich! Well you're in luck, i still have two passes for all of the seven museums. I can give it to you once am in Manila :) you probably want to visit the Tsinoy exhibit in RCBC. Am sure it will remind you of Akong :) Take care my friend!

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