The Philippine Star
JUAN LUNA: LAS BELLAS ARTES
Juan Luna is considered one of the greatest artists in Philippine history, known for his dramatic and dynamic works, which focus on the romanticism and realism styles of art.
He was also a major player in the Philippine Revolution in the 19th century with his magnificent artworks sparking nationalism and pride among Filipinos.
Luna was born on Oct. 23, 1857 in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, the son of Don Joaquin Luna de San Pedro y Posadas and Doña Laurena Novicio y Ancheta. His brother Manuel, a painter, influenced Juan’s early interest in art, later prompting him to take lessons under the famous painting teacher Lorenzo Guerrero and to enroll at the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura under the Spanish artist Agustin Saez.
In 1877, Juan Luna traveled to Europe to continue his studies and enroll at the Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. It was in 1881 when his work, “The Death of Cleopatra” won a silver medal at the Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes.
From then on, he continued to gain recognition and respect as an artist, impressing Europeans and Filipinos with outstanding works such as
“Spolarium,” which won gold in 1884, and “Battle at Lepanto” in 1887.
Other popular Luna works include “Blood Compact,”
“Tampuhan,” “Mestiza Lady at Her Dresser” and “Roman Ladies.” He died in 1899 at the age of 42 after suffering from a heart attack. Today, his works can be found in esteemed museums in the Philippines such as the Lopez Museum and the National Museum.