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National Museum opens 'world's best exhibition' of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino |

Arts and Culture

National Museum opens 'world's best exhibition' of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino

Kathleen A. Martin -
National Museum opens 'world's best exhibition' of National Artist Guillermo Tolentino
Gallery XII or the Security Bank Hall showcases the permanent exhibition of sculptures, lithographs and memorabilia of National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino / Kathleen A. Llemit

MANILA, Philippines — After a decade, 14 sculptures of the country's first National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo Tolentino were finally been donated by Security Bank to the National Museum of Fine Arts.

Last Saturday, September 24, a cocktail reception was held at the lobby of the National Museum with Juan Luna's magnificent "Spoliarium" as the backdrop. 

"Now, we have the best exhibition of Guillermo Tolentino that you can't find anywhere in the world. Definitely the best and most numerous number of works that you can see in a public place unless you are privileged to go to Malacanang or some private collector's office. You won't see anywhere near this number of range and quality of works of Guillermo Tolentino," museum director Jeremy Barns said. 

The 14 sculptures include:

  • Model of the Commonwealth Triumphal,
  • Bust of President Manuel Roxas,
  • Bust of Lapu-Lapu,
  • Bust of President Manuel L. Quezon,
  • Bust of Gat. Andres Bonifacio,
  • Bust of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo,
  • head of a Filipina lady,
  • Miniature bust of Dr. Jose Rizal,
  • Bust of Bibiano Meer,
  • Bust of Luisa Marasigan,
  • Bust of Don Jacobo Lim Chitco,
  • bust of a matriarch,
  • Bust of Dr. Jose Rizal
  • and the Bust of Boy Scout First Class Roberto Corpus Pastor.

Barns shared that these were previously loaned by the bank in 2011 when then bank chairman and now chairman emeritus Frederick Dy inquired if the National Museum would be interested to include some of his Tolentino scupltures that he wanted to be exhibited for public display. 

The 14 sculptures were included as part of "Gallery XII – Eskultor ng Lahing Filipino: Honoring the Life and Work of Guillermo Tolentino," a permanent exhibition, which opened in July 2013.

With the newly renovated hall painted in the bank's recognizable royal blue color and walls that features images of the Andres Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, which Tolentino designed, the Security Bank Hall also features the busts of former Philippine presidents Ramon Magsaysay and Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The busts of historical figures such as General Douglas MacArthur and historian and civil servant Epifanio de los Santos are also displayed in the hall. 

“Security Bank recognizes the important role that financial institutions play in nation-building and sustainable development. Our advocacies are aligned with our mission to enrich lives, empower businesses, and build communities. Security Bank has been a proud advocate of Filipino art and culture for many years and has been a partner of the National Museum since 2013. With the reintroduction of the Security Bank Hall underpinned by the official handover of Tolentino’s pieces, we hope to spark a fresh interest in historic art and make these easily accessible to visitors and the community for generations to come,” said  Sanjiv Vohra, Security Bank President and Chief Executive Officer. 

Apart from sculptures, Tolentino also did lithography and one of this works, the "Filipinos Ilustres," that features 13 Philippine heroes including Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and the Luna brothers, Juan and Antonio, are also part of the exhibit. 

Tolentino's certificates and plaques as well as diplomas from his studies in France and Italy and his National Artist medal are also on display. 

Apart from Security Bank, other Tolentino works were either donated or are on loan from collectors that include historian Prof. Ambeth Ocampo, former Cultural Center of the Philippines president Nestor Jardin, Ernesto and Araceli Salas, and the President Manuel Roxas Foundation. 

Tolentino was born in 1890 and was named as the National Artist of the Philippines for Sculpture in 1973, three years before his death. Tolentino, along with fellow National Artist and painter Fernando Amorsolo, dominated the Philippine art scene from the 1930s to the 1950s. He followed the classical style and mainly used plaster and metal to create his artpieces.



RELATED: National Museum reopens after Marcos inauguration

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