The Department of English
Class ’54 of the Ateneo de Manila University
the Henry Lee Irwin Chair in Creative Writing Lecture
Revisiting Juan Luna’s Spoliarium,
Writing Art in History
Patrick D. Flores
Henry Lee Irwin Chair Awardee, 2007
24 September 2007, Monday
4.30 – 6.00 pm
John Gokongwei School of Management Building (SOM)
Ground Floor, Room 111
Ateneo de Manila University

To mark the opening of the National Art Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines and to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Juan Luna, this lecture revisits the country’s most well-known painting, Spoliarium, which merited a Gold Medal at the Madrid Exposition in 1884. The talk explores the work’s various dimensions: style, nationalism, artistic biography. It draws on various disciplines such as literature and art history, folk theater and nineteenth-century oratory to locate the painting within a wide horizon of meanings and sensibilities. It also surveys the range of interpretations within which it has gained canonical stature and critique through time.

A distinct dimension in this reengagement with the Spoliarium is the writing or literatue on this piece of cherished art, exemplified by the texts of Jose Rizal and Graciano Lopez Jaena, which may well constitute the earliest instances of art criticism in Philippine art history. This mode of critical reflection creatively conceives the relationship between art and nineteenth- century nationalism and significantly informs the language of art writing and writing on art of the modern period.

DR. PATRICK D. FLORES is Professor of Art Studies at the University of the Philippines and Curator of the Arts Division of the National Museum of the Philippines. He has degrees in the Humanities, Art History, and Philippine Studies. He has done research on colonial art and history of contemporary curation in Southeast Asia through grants from the Toyota Foundation and the Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship. He was a visiting fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in 1999. He has also curated exhibitions locally and internationally. His recent essays appeared in the journal positions from Duke University, Filozofski Vestnik from Slovenia, and the anthology Eye of the Beholder: Reception, Audience, and Practice of Modern Asian Art from the University of Sydney.

Please email Ma. Socorro Perez to confirm your participation.

Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University
Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights,
Quezon City 1108 Metro Manila
426-6001 local 5310/5311