Rizal said that Spoliarium was a sign of “our social, moral, and political life: humanity that has not been saved, reason and aspiration in open battle with prejudice, fanaticism, and injustice.”
It is unclear what the painting means for the history of the Philippines.
We need to look at the picture to understand why Rizal and others used Spoliarium to promote a nationalistic symbolism that encouraged the Filipinos to stand up against the oppression of their Spanish occupiers. The work of Amorsolo and Luna shows how the Philippines as a whole have a rich cultural history. In short, they show what Filipinos are worth. The Historical Solarium is the essential thing Juan Luna has done. The artwork shows a lot about how people live in the Philippines.
What can you learn from the Spoliarium?
In essence, Spoliarium shows Juan Luna’s patriotism because it shows how the people who invaded Spain broke people’s rights. To make things even more complicated, the red in the middle was skillfully paired with a shade of green to create a stunningly harmonious piece.
The image of Spoliarium shows oppression and violence. Spoliarium says that if the Filipinos wanted to keep their culture, they had to put on shows for the Romans and the Spaniards even if it cost them their lives. During these times of colonization, they died as a sacrifice.
Which painting do you think costs the most in the Philippines?
A painting by National Artist Jose Joya sold for P112 million at an auction in March of this year. This made it the most expensive piece of Filipino art ever sold. An oil painting held the record on canvas by Ang Kiukok that sold for P65 million at the same auction house the year before.
How did Juan Luna come up with the idea for Spoliarium?
Spoliarium is a painting that is very well known in the Philippines. Juan Luna said he painted Spoliarium to wake up the Filipino people, who were living in a state of denial, vice, and oppression.
Gladiator fights, which you can see in the painting, were a big part of Roman culture and history. The word “spoliation” comes from Latin and means the basement of the Colosseum. This is where the dead and dying gladiators are put, and their belongings are taken. Realistic art covered various topics, such as landscapes and portraits. If you look closely, Juan Luna’s Spoliarium is an excellent example of realist art. He is one of the best Filipino artists of all time. It makes me think of the pain of dying gladiators and is both dark and exciting.
Philippine patriotism grew in Spoliarium, a style of art in which Rizal and others used nationalistic symbols to encourage the people of the Philippines to fight against Spanish colonial rule. It is Juan Luna’s most famous and valuable oil painting. It shows a bit of Roman history and the violent gladiator fights in the Spoliarium. In 1884, Juan entered this historical painting in the Exposicion de Bellas Artes. It won him his first gold medal (Beauty Fair).