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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Revisiting the National Museum

I had the chance to see the National Museum again a few weeks ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are allowing photography inside.  We were told that like in other similar places, they do not allow flash photography.  Since it was sunny that day, I knew I wouldn't have any problem with the light.



The National Museum houses the award-winning mural of Juan Luna called, "Spoliarium".  It is the first piece that will greet you upon entering the gallery.  It shows the bodies of dead and defeated gladiators being dragged in the dark undergrounds of the colosseum.  It won the gold medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884. The art piece is a metaphor for the colonial rule of Spain in the Philippines and was used as propaganda material by the revolutionaries.



I love this painting and it never fails to impress me every time I see it.  You must see it for yourself to truly appreciate its beauty.  

Inside this hall are other works of Luna as well as those of Hidalgo and other great masters.  Most depict important events in our country's history.





On the other floors of the museum are pieces of sculpture and paintings from the 20th-century Filipino masters.  











On our way out, we passed by the floor where the Philippine Senate used to hold office.  It's there where we realized that the building of the National Museum is itself a work of art. Built during the American Colonial Regime, the hall gives us a glimpse of that time. The ceiling, flooring and even the friezes adorning the walls were real national treasures.





This section of the building is still being repaired and renovated.  I am not sure if it will be open to the public once the repairs are done.

In another gallery, mostly showing more contemporary works of art, I was reprimanded by a security officer for taking pictures.  When I told him that we were informed by the people at the front desk that we could take pictures he said that we are allowed only if we include ourselves in the photograph.  I was dumbfounded actually but I just followed and let it be.

I will still go back to the National Museum in spite that,  It is indeed a repository of our nation's soul.






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