“Spreading the Light”

The magnificent “Lumina Pandit” exhibition at the UST University of Santo Tomas Miguel de Benavides Central Library.



  1. Enrique Bustos said,

    January 18, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Vicki Belo as patroness of the arts

    By Leah C. Salterio
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    UST Museum will launch today the comprehensive catalogue of its priceless visual arts collection
    THE FINEST works of the masters, some dating back to the early 1800s, comprise the visual arts collection of the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences. For the first time, the country’s oldest museum shows its comprehensive catalogue for public viewing.

    Most of the paintings were restored for the exhibit “Visual Color of Grace,” which opened early this month to celebrate the 140th year of the museum, as well as the 400th anniversary of Asia’s oldest university. The exhibit was inaugurated recently by Dr. Vicki Belo, noted cosmetic surgeon.

    Belo is also expected to grace the launching today, Jan. 17, of the first comprehensive catalogue of the UST Museum’s visual arts collection.

    The UST Museum has holdings of over 900 paintings which cover a wide range and interesting cross-section of art history—from the 18th to the 21st century. The first batch reflects the period from the 18th to the early 19th century, when paintings were created mainly for religious purposes. This catalog includes the portrait of Mary Magdalene, painted by Juan Arzeo.

    The second group marks the economic progress in the 19th century, with paintings commissioned by the elite social class. Among the works in this era are Juan Luna’s “Italian Soldier” and “Playa Kamakura”; Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo’s “Costas de Bretana,” “Costas de Normandia,” “Estudio” I, “Estudio” II; and Miguel Zaragoza’s “Landscape” I and “Landscape” II.

    Embodying the third group are works of artists who had formal training from the academe during the 20th century: Rafael Enriquez’s “Andaluz,” “Portrait of Pico, El Alguacill,” “The Bridge of Sighs”; Fabian de la Rosa’s “Filipina” and “A Portrait of a Girl”; and 10 creations by Teodoro Buenaventura.

    Also included in this era are eight works of Fernando Amorsolo (including portraits of Anne Saleeby, Rev. Fr. Silvestre Sancho, OP, Virginia Grace and President Diosdado Macapagal); and two works of Pablo Amorsolo (“Fruit Vendor” and “Limpia Botas”).

    The collection of early Philippine modernism consists of Victorio Edades’ “Dr. José Rizal”; Vicente Manansala’s “Pounding Rice” and “Overcast Skies”; Ricarte Puruganan’s “Harvest Festival”; Galo Ocampo’s “Brown Madonna”; and Botong Francisco’s “Under the Mango Tree,” “Pastoral,” “Harana” and “Oracion.”

    Also bannering the exhibit are celebrated works such as “Portrait of a Young Balinese Girl” by the Italian Romualdo Locatelli and “The Foundation of the University of Santo Tomas by Archbishop Miguel de Benavides,” by D. Celis.

    Winning entries in the prestigious UST annual interschool on-the-spot painting competition since 1941 complete the priceless collection.

    The UST Main Building, declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum, and other buildings on campus are also a veritable showcase of important works of masters such as Manansala, Ocampo and Francisco. Antonio Llamas’s murals at the lobby of the Main Building chronicle the university’s role in Philippine history.

    Conservation expert

    Chemist and art conservator Maita Maronilla-Reyes did the daunting task of conservation and restoration of the paintings using scientific and aesthetic methods. With a humidifying dome for large works or a nebulizer for small ones, the acts of stabilizing and moisturizing the brittle canvas are performed.

    Reyes, the Center for Museum Conservation chief and herself a BS Chemistry graduate of UST, said a special, nonacidic chemical is used to remove acids accumulated through the years that caused the discoloration of the artwork. Then, the application of an ultraviolet varnish on every pigment of the canvas is done to prolong the life and color of the painting.

    Funding the conservation and restoration are generous donors and benefactors through the annual Christmas Concert Gala, co-chaired by Maricris Zobel.

    UST Museum director Fr. Isidro Abaño acknowledged that the marvelous paintings are proof of the “unending grace” bestowed by God upon the UST Museum for more than a century and the university for 400 years. (“Unending grace” is the closing lyrics of the UST Hymn.)

    “May that same grace be made visible in colorful life’s of goodwill, good works and works of art that give praise, glory and honor to God,” the Dominican priest and heritage scholar said during the opening of the exhibit.

    Belo as UST benefactor

    One of the UST Museum’s benefactors is Dr. Vicki Belo, the university being her alma mater, where she finished her medicine course.

    “Whenever there’s a chance for me to help, I always extend a helping hand to UST,” Belo said. “Be it a financial donation for a building construction, sponsorship of a concert or even gracing events or activities on campus, I always try to accommodate it.”

    For Belo, helping UST is her way of giving back to her alma mater. “A good part of who I am is due to the lessons I learned at UST,” she said. “Beyond academics, my Thomasian education has given me treasured insights about work ethic, resourcefulness and value-based achievements.”

    Last December, Belo also donated to the annual UST Christmas Gala, which she graced with daughter Cristalle Henares.

    “One of the things I learned in UST is that the picture of success is not complete unless it is framed by the success of others,” Belo explained. “If the school or its students benefit in any way from my involvement, that’s what makes my practice more fulfilling. Steve Jobs once said, ‘The fulfillment of earning a dollar ends as soon as you spend it. The fulfillment of sharing a dollar—and even more so, the skills you used to earn that dollar—never ends.’ I wholeheartedly agree with that.”

  2. Presy Guevara said,

    January 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    The 1-16-11 reprint here of the article by Fr. Isidro C. Abaño, OP from Philippine Daily Inquirer may have mistyped Galo Ocampo as Gab Ocampo at first mention of his name.The late Galo Ocampo founded the Council of Philippine Arts and Architecture in the Washington DC metropolitan area several decades ago. To this day, he is much revered by its members. I believe that his model for the child in “Brown Madonna” was his son Dennis.

  3. Enrique Bustos said,

    January 16, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Oldest museum gives public a peek to its priceless art collection
    By Fr. Isidro C. Abaño, OP
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    Excerpts from the introduction to the UST Museum’s visual arts catalogue to be launched on Jan. 17.

    THE EXHIBITION’S banner image depicts two angels carrying baskets of brightly colored flowers and fruits which they are about to shower upon the earth. These angels are actually part of the huge undated hagiographic portrait of the penitent Mary Magdalene attributed to and signed by Juan Arzeo (b. ca 1785 d. ca 1870). The showering of flowers and fruits is an allusion to the stream of favors and graces which flow down from their celestial abode.

    These graces do not remain only in the realm of symbols but certainly are concretely manifested in the existence of UST spanning four centuries (1611-2011). This gracious existence includes the UST Museum that houses and cares for the important visual arts collection, particularly paintings, which has become a trail map in the development of art production and art training in the Philippines.

    To give an idea of the extent of its collection, the museum comes out for the first time with a comprehensive catalogue of its visual arts collection in various media, such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, charcoal and mixed media.

    Art scholar Ma. Victoria Herrera explains that the UST Museum’s collection is a fascinating cross-section of art history, divided roughly into four eras, from the 18th century to the 20th century. The first group reflects the period during the 18th to the early 19th centuries, when the Church was the foremost art patron and paintings were created mainly for religious purposes and not artistic expression, hence the preponderance of unsigned but important artworks. The exception here is the UST Museum’s portrait of Mary Magdalene which is signed by the artist Juan Arzeo.

    The second group marks the birth of formal art training in the country, when art schools and guilds were formed and 19th-century economic progress allowed the middle class to commission paintings and thereby usher in a socio-cultural context to visual arts in the Philippines extending up to the start of the 20th century. Among the works in the museum’s collection representing this group are Juan Luna’s “Italian Soldier” and “Playa de Kamakura”; Felix Resureccion Hidalgo’s works including “Costas de Bretaña,” “Costas de Normandia,” “Estudio I” and “Estudio II” and Miguel Zaragoza’s “Landscape I” and “Landscape II.”

    The third group represents the rise of artists who were products of the Academia de Dibujo and who subsequently formalized art training in the academe during the 20th century. The UST Museum has a fine representation of this period with five works by Rafael Enriquez, including “Andaluz,” “Portrait of Pico, El Alguacil,” and “The Bridge of Sighs”; Fabian de la Rosa’s “Filipina” and a “Portrait of A Girl,” and 10 works by Teodoro Buenaventura. Also included are eight works by Fernando Amorsolo, among them “Portrait of Miss Anne Saleeby,” “Portrait of Rev. Fr. Silvestre Sancho, OP,” “Portrait of Miss Virginia Grace” and “Portrait of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal”; and two Pablo Amorsolo works, “Fruit Vendor” and “Limpia Botas.”

    The fourth group features the works of the early Modernists, who broke away from the classical tradition and explored new modes of expression, with the leaders of this artistic movement making UST their home: Victorio Edades’ “Dr. José Rizal” and “Portrait of Fr. Francisco Mann, OP”; Vicente Manansala’s “Pounding Rice” and “Overcast Sky”; nine works by Ricarte Puruganan, including “Portrait of Fr. Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, OP,” “Breakers,” and “Harvest Festival”; 10 works by Gab Ocampo such as “Brown Madonna,” the triptych of “Annunciation, Nativity and Adoration by the Three Kings”; and 15 works by Carlos “Botong” Francisco such as “Under the Mango Tree,” “Pastoral,” “Harana” and “Oracion.” Furthermore, Manansala, Ocampo and Francisco had chronicled UST’s role in Philippine history with murals found on campus.

    Recognizing its great responsibility and vital role in conserving these artworks for future generations, the oldest museum in the country embraces technological advances to stay a step ahead in terms of collection management, education and conservation. The UST Museum is one of the first to employ a computerized database designed specifically for its collection, including a detailed data entry system with the object’s full description, condition report and collection management information.

    It has also embarked on a conservation enterprise for the collection that makes use of its own conservation laboratory; painstaking efforts have already yielded great rewards, with the conservation of 12 very important pieces out of over 900 pieces in the collection.

    These include invaluable artworks such as the celebrated “Portrait of a Young Balinese Girl” by Romualdo Locatelli, the “Portrait of Bishop Antonio Zulaybar” attributed to Juan Arzeo, “Dr. José Rizal” by Victorio Edades, “Fruit Vendor” by Pablo Amorsolo and “The Foundation of the University of Santo Tomas by Archbishop Miguel de Benavides” by D. Celis that won in the painting competition during the 300th anniversary of the University of Sto. Tomas in 1911. And, very recently, the murals depicting the history of UST by Antonio Garcia Llamas in the lobby of the UST Main Building have undergone intensive cleaning and minor restoration, an effort that adds luster to the National Cultural Treasure honor bestowed on the UST Main Building by the National Museum in 2010

    UST Museum marks 140th year with show of restored visual arts holdings

    AS THE University of Santo Tomas turns 400 this 2011, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences celebrates also the 140th anniversary of its formal establishment at the old campus in Intramuros, Manila, in 1871 by Rev. Fr. Ramon Martinez Vigil, OP.

    To mark the two very historic occasions, the UST Museum is mounting the exhibit “Visual Color of Grace,” until Jan. 29. It showcases the important, invaluable pieces of the visual arts collection that overall present a trail map of the development of the visual arts and of art education in the Philippines from the late 18th century to the 21st century.

    Artists represented range from those in the 19th century when the Church was the foremost art patron (Juan Arzeo), to the masters of the late 19th century and of the early 20th century (Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Miguel Zaragoza); the masters of the 20th century (Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo, Pablo Amorsolo, Rafael Enriquez); the early Philippine modernists (Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Galo Ocampo, Vicente Manansala); and emergent voices, such as the winners of the annual UST Inter-School Painting Competition (Ronald Ventura, Alfredo Esquillo, Ivan Roxas, Mark Salvatus, etc.).

    On display also will be recently restored artworks such as the celebrated “Portrait of a Young Balinese Girl,” by Romualdo Locatelli; “Portrait of Bishop Antonio Zulaybar,” attributed to Juan Arzeo; “Dr. José Rizal,” by National Artist Victorio Edades; “Fruit Vendor,” by Pablo Amorsolo; and “The Foundation of the University of Santo Tomas by Archbishop Miguel de Benavides,” by D. Celis, which won the painting competition held to mark the 300th anniversary of UST in 1911.

    Their restoration was funded in great part by generous donors and benefactors through the annual Christmas Concert Gala that has been co-chaired by Maricris Zobel since 2009.

    In connection with the UST Quadricentennial and 140th anniversary of UST Museum, the UST Museum will launch the first comprehensive catalogue of its visual art collection on Jan. 17

  4. Enrique Bustos said,

    November 23, 2010 at 7:44 am

    In an Auction by CHRISTIE’S of Southeast Asian Modern and Contemporary Art in Hong Kong last May 30 2010

    the auction’s top-seller (US$772,968 or P36M) was “Young Balinese Girl with a Hibiscus,” by Romualdo Locatelli. He was born in Italy in 1905, and in 1943, he disappeared in the Philippines, where he is presumed to have died. (A superb, larger work by Locatelli is in the UST Museum collection.)

  5. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 31, 2010 at 7:26 am

    ROMUALDO LOCATELLI (Italian, 1905-1943).


    Romualdo Locatelli (1905-1943), a painter, was born in Bergamo, in Northern Italy. He was the first son of Luigi Locatelli a decorative painter and fresco artist. The Locatelli family is known for producing three generations of artists including painter Raffaello Locatelli , the sculptor Stefano Locatelli, and the Italian/Brazilian fresco artist Aldo Locatelli.

    As early as age eleven Romualdo Locatelli attended art classes, and his teacher Francisco Domenighini noted him as being an “intelligent and studious boy.” At the age of fourteen Locatelli assisted his father in executing decorations for the parish church of San Filastro, 25 kilometers from Bergamo.

    Locatelli then studied at the Carrara Academy directed by Ponziano Loverini. At the age of twenty he first exhibited and began to receive critical recognition. He made a study trip to Tunisia in 1927, followed by trips to Sardinia, Tuscany and the Veneto. In 1933 he moved to Rome where he executed a portrait of Victor Emmanuel III, which was exhibited in the 1938 Venice Bienale. Immensely successful in Italy, Locatatelli’s work was soon collected by the Pope and Benito Mussolini.

    In 1938 Locatelli was invited to visit the Dutch East Indies by the colonial governor. In Bali, where he stayed with the Candian composer Colin McPhee. Locatelli and his wife moved in high society, even though a speech impediment caused him to be shy and reticent in public. Locatelli left Bali for Manila in 1940 along with another Italian artist, Emilio Ambron. In the Philippines he met General MacArthur, and remained during the period of the Japanese Occupation.

    Locatelli disappeared under mysterious circumstances in the Rizal forest near Manila on February 23, 1943, after making a number of remarkable works in the Philippines including a presidential portrait. It is possible that he was believed to be an Axis spy, and for that reason he may have been targeted by locals. Also, prior to his death as many as 75 of his works were destroyed by the Japanese firebombing of Manila. Today Locatelli — despite the rarity of his Asian works — is considered one of the finest Italian Orientalists.

    In 1994 Locatelli’s widow, Erminia Locatelli Rogers, published “The Ultimate Voyage of an Italian Artist in the Far East.” describing the last years of his life. In her book, the author provides a quote written by critic V. N. De Javabode after his preview of the artist’s June, 1939 exhibition in Bandung:

    “For Locatelli there are no problems beyond the beauty of the abundance of life. One will find no depth and metaphysical ideas in his work. In a spontaneous manner he reveals the beauty of the body and nature. Here
    there is no sadness and sorrow that are shown, but their opposite, the beauty and happiness of the world. Here are no complicated voices from a mysterious psyche but here is presented pure pleasure of the

  6. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 31, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I wish that the University of Sto Tomas will also start the construction of the proposed Visual Art Gallery inside the U.S.T Museum so they can exhibit most of their magnificent visual art collection

    from the website of the UST Museum

    The UST Museum Gallery of Art, as it was then called, was formally inaugurated on July 25, 1940, through the initiative of then University Rector, Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P.. This followed the Museum’s transfer from Intramuros to Sampaloc. Since then, there have been additions to the collection that cover a period ranging roughly from the 17th century to the present.

    Such a diverse collection needs a simple and convenient way to classify it without prejudice to the work’s respective style or trend. To this end, the painting collection has been loosely divided into three groups.

    The first group is comprised of old paintings with religious subjects done by early Spanish artists and Filipino artisans through the 16th and 17th centuries. There is the Madonna and the Madonna and Child, identified by the traditional titles given them in Spain; patron saints and saints who were objects of popular devotion; and scenes from the Bible. These were presumably brought by the Spanish missionaries to visually complement and reinforce their religious teaching and to foster and enhance worship and devotion.

    The second group consists, for the most part, of portraits of early Popes and Bishops, of UST Rectors and other renowned Dominicans, some of them painted before photography became common. Most impressive and inspiring of these works, however, are some 22 old and timeworn paintings of the Dominican missionaries, who were martyred in the Far East from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Painted by anonymous Filipino artists, they are marvelous and moving creations of a vivid imagination and an artistic, if still unrefined, technique.

    The third group is composed mostly of representative paintings which, with a great variety of subjects, and except for a number of works by foreign artists, showcase in a modest way the period of Philippine painting from the later years of the 19th century to the 1960s. There are works by Juan Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, Manuel Zaragoza, Simeon Flores, Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo and his brother Pablo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Galo B. Ocampo, Vicente Manansala, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, and many others. Francisco Goya, Cirio Fanigiulio and Romualdo Locatelli lead the foreign artists.

    For want of needed space, there is no art gallery, strictly speaking, within the UST Museum. The unusually large pieces and a considerable number of portraits are hung along the walls, while the rest of the collection is stored in cabinets especially constructed for their security and protection. However, the Museum holds regular exhibits throughout the year to make these works available to students and visitors.

    Despite existing limitations, the art collection of the UST Museum is a rich cultural legacy and has provided valuable artistic testimony to the development of painting in the Philippines

  7. chuchi constantino said,

    October 29, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    how lucky for us that the archibishop of manila, Miguel de Benavides, O.P. donated money and his personal library to UST.! we can now glimpse our country’s history through the “exhibition of the most precious gems in the library” while UST celebrate its 400th anniversary next year. we can view a replica of the first Philippine printing press, the Librong Pag-aaralan nang Mga Tagalog nang Uicang Castila (first book written in tagalog and printed by a filipino printer), academic records of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Royal Cedula given by Philip IV in 1623, the Papal Bulls, the Act of Foundation granting UST the right of a university in perpetuity Pontifical Bull of Innocent X, 1645, Pigafetta’s narrative of Magellan’s first circumnavigation, master works of Copernicus, Aristotle, Galileo, Thomas Aquinas, etc. UST’s magnificent library certainly enhanced and contributed to the education of thousands of Filipinos – outstanding alumni, heroes, presidents, supreme court justices plus my ancestors (great grandfather Carlos Garcia Corrales degree of perino mercantile1886 and great grand uncle dr. felipe quisumbing zamora degree lecinciado en medicina 1877; he was one of the university‘s first 9 medical graduates).

    “Lumina pandit will display for the first time along with works that reflect how issues of importance such as catechism, nationalism, freedom, equality, commerce and trade, economics, human rights, and others were discussed then and have affected us as a nation. Lumina Pandit derived from the latin words lumina (light) and pandere (to spread) aims to spread light through a restrospective on history.” EX LIBRIS, Balikbayan Magazine, August-September 2010.

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