Juan Luna paintings taken from the book of "Juan Luna, The Filipino Painter" by Santiago Albano Pilar and published by Eugenio Lopez Foundation, Inc., 1980. The diskette with the paintings was provided by Carminda Arevalo of the National Historical Institute.
An internationally acclaimed Filipino painter who brought honor to the Philippines. Juan Luna was born in Badoc, Ilocos Norte on October 24, 1857. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila. In 1877, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain, where he won the high praises of his Spanish teachers.
In 1881, at the National Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid, Luna was awarded second prize for his canvas La Muerte de Cleopatra. The painting that won for him even greater international fame was the Spolarium, which was awarded first prize in the National Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid in 1884. His La Batella de Lapanto won the first prize in the Barcelona Exposition of 1888.
In 1896, he returned to the Philippines and on September 16, 1896, together with his brother Antonio and other suspects, he was arrested for complicity in the Katipunan uprising. He was released by a royal pardon on May 27, 1897, the birth anniversary of King Alfonso XIII. He sailed for Europe shortly after his release.
When the Filipino-American war broke out, he wanted to return to the Philippines and join the fight for his country. Failing in this, he worked in France as a diplomatic agent of President Emilio Aguinaldo. Late in 1899, upon hearing of the sad plight of the Republic, he sailed for home with the idea of joining the Filipino army. However, in Hongkong, he suffered a fatal heart attack on December 7, 1899.