SPANISH COLONIAL PERIOD When the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines in 1521, the colonizers used art as a tool to propagate the Catholic faith through beautiful images. With communication as problem, the friars used images to explain the concepts behind Catholicism, and to tell the stories of Christ’s life and passion.
Images of the Holy Family and the saints were introduced to the Filipino psyche through carved santos, the via crucis (Stations of the Cross), engravings on estampitas, and through paintings on church walls.
Though the ethnic art forms such as pottery, weaving and metalwork were retained, the Spanish friars and the Chinese, the colony’s primary trading partner, were slowly introducing newer art forms. Icons brought by the friars were used as models for sculpture. Filipino artisans were taught the Chinese brushwork technique in painting. Engraving was also introduced.
The concept of patronage emerged. Artisans were commissioned and paid to carve, engrave, and paint. They replaced the arts that were once done in a communal spirit and community setting for rituals. The church, particularly the friars, became the new patron of the arts.
Since most art produced during the first two centuries of Spanish occupation were for the church, the friars enforced strict supervision over their production. Until the 19th century, art was only for the church and religious use.
Early in the 19th century, with the opening of the Suez canal in 1869 and the development of the agricultural export economy, native indios acquired economic wealth and became what was to be called the "ilustrados," meaning enlightened and educated.
These developments paved the way for Filipinos ilustrados to send their children to universities in Europe. The rise of the "ilustrado" (Filipinos with money and education) class was inevitable. The ilustrados became the new patron of the arts. These events paved the way for the secularization of art in the 19th century.
A. PAINTINGThe Spanish friars introduced Western painting in the Philippines to artisans who learned to copy on two-dimensional form from the religious icons that the friars brought from Spain,. For the first centuries of Spanish colonization, painting was limited to religious icons.
Portraits of saints and of the Holy Family became a familiar sight in churches. Other subject matters include the passion of Christ, the Via Crucis, the crucifixion, portrayal of heaven, purgatory and hell.
Painters from the Visayas island of Bohol were noted for their skillful manipulation of the technique. Their paintings of saints and religious scenes show figures in frontal and static positions.
For the Boholano painters, the more important persons would be depicted bigger than the rest of the figures. Christ normally dwarfs the Roman soldiers in these paintings. Unfortunately, they did not sign their names on their works and no record of their names exists.
In the church in Paete, Laguna are two works by Josef Luciano Dans (1805- ca. 1870), probably one of the earliest recorded painters in Philippine art history. Langit, Lupa at Impierno ca. 1850 (Heaven, Earth and Hell), a three- level painting which shows the Holy Trinity, Mary the Mother of Christ, saints, the Seven Blessed Sacraments and a macabre depiction of
During the early part of the Spanish occupation, painting was exclusively for the churches and for religious purposes. Occasionally, it was also used for propaganda. Esteban Villanueva of Vigan, Ilocos Sur depicted the Ilocos revolt against the basi monopoly in a 1821.
The Spanish government commissioned the work. The fourteen panels show the series of events that led to the crushing of the Ilocano basi workers revolt by Spanish forces. It also showed the appearance of Halley’s comet in the Philippines during that time.
Tagalog painters Jose Loden, Tomas Nazario and Miguel de los Reyes, did the first still life paintings in the country. They were commissioned in 1786 by a Spanish botanist to paint the flora and fauna found in the country.
The earliest known historical paintings in the Philippines was a mural at the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) in Intramuros entitled The Conquest of the Batanes done in 1783. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the 1863 earthquake.
Secular subject matter in painting only increased during the 19th century. With more tourists, ilustrados and foreigners demanding souvenirs and decorations from the country, tipos del pais developed in painting.
These watercolor paintings show the different types of inhabitants in the Philippines in their different native costumes that show their social status and occupation. It also became an album of different native costumes. Damian Domingo y Gabor (ca. 1790- 1832) was the most popular artist who worked in this style.
Damian Domingo AKA Damian Gabor Domingo• 1st Filipino to paint his face, the first self- portrait in the Philippines• Founder of the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura, the first school of drawing in the Philippines (1821)• "Father of Filipino Painting"ALIAS"The First Great Filipino Painter"
DATE OF BIRTH1796BIRTHPLACETondo, Manila, PhilippinesWIFE: Lucia CasasCHILDREN: Celedonia, Severo, Anastacio, Feliciana, Agapita, Mariano, Jose, and Nicolasa YEAR OF DEATH1834
PERSONAL BACKGROUNDDon Damians father was Spanish and his mother a Manileña from Tondo. At an early age he already showed a mastery of the brush.
CAREERDomingo is known for being among the first to start painting secular subjects, a major departure from the typical religious paintings of the previous era. It was the period of the rising middle class, and his tipos del pais or paintings of native Filipinos in their costumes were in demand as decorative items among the ilustrados as well as among the tourists and foreign residents.
He was skilled in executing miniaturepaintings, which were then in vogue as objectsto be given to lovers and friends. According tohis great grandson Alfonso Ongpin, customs ofthe day did not allow formal visits and suitorshad to be content with glimpses of theirsweethearts from the street. Domingo amazedhis clients with his ability to capture a perfectlikeness of the lady in question after a fewbrief sightings of her at her window.
It is told that his miniature portrait of Lucia Casas so captivated the ladys father, the wealthy colonel Don Ambrocio Casas, that he invited the painter into his house. A romance developed followed by a marriage that produced eight children, including Celedonia, Severo, Anastacio, Feliciana, Agapita, Mariano, Jose, and Nicolasa. Two of them, Severo and Jose, would follow in the footsteps of their father.
THE FIRST FORMAL PHILIPPINE ART SCHOOLDomingo became the painter of choice of Manilas prominent class. He not only developed genre painting but also portraiture. His fame became so widespread that even Governor-General Mariano Ricafort (1825-1830) sat for him. Domingo realized the value of formal art education, and moved his peers and students to study art in a rigorous way attuned to the Western world.
DAMIAN DOMINGOThe students were taught how to draw still life and the human form, the art of perspective, painting in oil and aquarelle, and the preparation of colors and surfaces. Painters of that epoch painted not only on canvas, but on wood and ivory, of copper, iron, silver, and sometimes gold.
He established the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura in 1821. Two years later another school was opened by the Sociedad Economica Filipina de Amigos del Pais. On 13 June 1826 both schools were fused when Domingo was asked to teach at the latter academy. In 1828 he was made the director.
In his school he required that there be no discrimination of the races. The students were taught anatomy, still life painting, perspective drawing, the handling of oils and watercolors, and the preparation of colors and painting surfaces.
For his talent and civic work, Domingo was given the honorary title of lieutenant of the Spanish army. The French writer Jean Mallat observed that his miniatures displayed the mark of great talent.
LEGACYDomingo died on July 26, 1834 after a long and progressive illness. The academy was officially closed on May 16, 1834 due to lack of funds.Of his known surviving works, most are watercolors. Among his oil paintings are the religious works The Apotheosis of St. Thomas Aquinas, Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, The Chair of St. Peter in Rome, and The Holy Family.
In 2007 Ayala Museum mounted the first major retrospective of the spectrum of his oeuvre, including religious images from the Ongpin Family collection, miniature portraits, and several versions of his Philippine costume albums. The exhibit was curated by a direct descendant of the painter, Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, along with Luciano Santiago and Deanna Ongpin- Recto.
Damian Domingo continued to paint religiousimages. He intended these for display in hispersonal shrine and this exhibition marks thefirst time that the family, the artistsdescendants through the Alfonso Ongpin line,have allowed their display in public. Finedetails show the artists growing mastery ofthe miniaturismo style. Domingo used a widerange of materials available to artists likewood board, ivory, copper, iron, silver, andgold.
PORTRAIT OF GOVERNOR-GENERAL PASQUAL DE ENRILE Y ALSEDO
Self PortraitOil on Ivory SheetPaulino and Hetty Que Collection
DAMIAN DOMINGOHe died about 1834, before reaching the age of 40. His death was a great loss not only to art but to the Filipino movement for racial equality that was to reach its apogee later in that century. To his family and motherland, he left a lasting legacy – the greatness of the Filipinos in painting.
In the early 19th century, the rise of the ilustrados saw a rise in the art of portraiture. The need to adorn their newly constructed bahay-na-bato and the want to document their new found wealth and social status, the ilustrados commissioned painters to make portraits of themselves.
The works of painters like Simon Flores, Antonio Malantic and Justiniano Asuncion captured the intricately designed jewelry and fashion accessories, the minuet details of the embroidered clothes, and ornately designed domestic furniture of the patrons. The painstaking attention to minuet details characterized miniaturismo.
Governor General Narciso Claveria in 1849 issued a decree that all Philippine natives should assume Spanish names. Letras y figuras (letters and figures), a style developed by Jose Honorato Lozano, combines both tipos del pais and genre paintings by forming the letters of the patron’s name from figures of people in local costumes doing everyday activities. It also utilized landscape scenes as background
Several Filipino painters had the chance to study and work abroad. Among them were Juan Novicio Luna and Felix Resureccion Hidalgo who became the first international Filipino artists when they won the gold and silver medals in the 1884 Madrid Exposition.