Today in Philippine History, February 21, 1853, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo was born in Binondo, Manila

   Self portrait, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, 1909
   Self portrait, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, 1901.
On February 21, 1853, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, one of the greatest Filipino painters along with fellow painter Juan Luna in the 19th century, was born in Binondo, Manila.

Hidalgo played a significant role in Philippine history for having been an acquaintance and inspiration for members of the Philippine reform movement which included Dr. Jose Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce and Graciano López Jaena.

He studied Fine Arts and was subsequently sent to Spain in 1879 as a "pensionado" and enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Madrid.

Instead of returning to the country after his studies, Hidalgo went to Paris and put up a gallery, which became one of the centers of Filipino activities, where Filipino exiles and revolutionaries found a sanctuary.

One of the highlights of his career was his winning the silver medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts, along with the gold win of painter Juan Luna, whom members of the Philippine reform movement celebrated, with Rizal toasting to the two painters' good health and citing their awards as evidence that Filipinos and Spaniards were equals.

   Las virgenes Cristianas expuestas al populacho, 1884, Metropolitan Museum of Manila
   Las virgenes Cristianas expuestas al populacho, 1884
In his lifetime, Hidalgo produced over a thousand works which include oil paintings, water color, pastels and charcoal drawings, with subjects ranging from the mythological and historical to landscapes, seascapes, portraits and figures of the genre.

Eventually he became a great prize winner, including his paintings exhibited at the French Academy and marked H.C. (Hors Concours). He received a gold medal for his overall participation at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. His "El Violinista" was individually accorded a gold medal.

The canvases he executed for the Spanish colonial government in return for his study grant include: Governor Luis Perez Dasmarinas and his Dominican Advisor, Guerreros Filipinos Velando la Tumba de su Jefe (Filipino Warriors Guarding the Tomb of their Chief), 1890, and The Defeat of Limahong, 1892.

   The murder of Governor-general Bustamente
   The murder of Governor-general Fernando Manuel de Bustillo Bustamente y Rueda
His Greek Philosopher at Work, 1889, La Enferma (The Invalid), 1900, and Per Pacem et Libertatem (Through Peace and Liberty), 1904, all life-sized pieces, used to hang in the National Museum which was then called National Gallery of Art in Manila.

His major and controversial mural is the Assassination of Governor Fernando Manuel de Bustamente, which shows friars murdering the governor.

He died on March 13, 1913 at the age of 60 in Sarrea, near Barcelona, Spain. His remains were brought back to Manila and entombed in the Hidalgo family mausoleum at the Cementerio del Norte (North Cemetery).

Reference: Philippine News Agency
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Today is also the birthday of my father, Primitivo Esteria. Happy Birthday Tatay.

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