I confess. I have laid my eyes on Leonardo da Vinci’s Monalisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris long before I caught a glimpse of Juan Luna’s A Portrait of a Lady at the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines.
Umm, okay, an interval of 4 years might not be that long. But that’s beside the point. The point is I should have visited this place a long time ago! Really, there’s no excuse for someone like me who, for almost 10 years now, has been toiling in an office cubicle that is well within a 5-kilometer radius from this place where “works of art, specimens, and cultural and historical artifacts representative of our unique cultural heritage and natural history” are being kept and preserved.
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It was just as well that only a handful of people were inside the museum that day because I went completely shutter-happy!
First stop was the “Hall of Masters” where I got some face time with the Spoliarium. Almost anyone I know who has been to the National Art Gallery swears by this totally grand and utterly moving masterpiece of Juan Luna. Now, I know why. Everything was a blur after my encounter with it.
Except of course with the masterpieces of Fernando Amorsolo which were so effective I almost wished I was living somewhere in the countryside 🙂 I had to remind myself a few times that poverty and lack of employment is so pervasive in the countryside before I was able to move on to the next gallery.
Not to be missed is the recently opened Philam Life Hall Gallery which is dedicated to some of the large format paintings of Vicente Manansala.
For several minutes, I had them all to myself. Which was exhilarating. And sad.
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Here’s some good news: entrance to the National Museum is FREE for the whole month of May (Heritage Month). The National Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Free admission on Sundays during the rest of the year.
Entrance Fees: Museum of the Filipino People and National Art Gallery
(also includes visit to exhibits of the National Planetarium.)
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