Juan Luna: The Painter Who Painted His Own Destiny

Do you know who painted the famous Spoliarium? Yes, that’s right, it’s Juan Luna, a name we often hear when we were in elementary and high school. But do you know his other accomplishments and downfalls?
Below are 10 interesting and controversial facts about our National artist, Juan Luna.

1. Juan Novicio Luna was born on October 23, 1857 in Badoc, Ilocos, Philippines. (socyberty.com)

2. He was the third among the seven children of Don Joaquin Luna de San Pedro y Posadas and Doña Laureana Novicio y Ancheta. (wikipedia.org)

3. Juan married Paz (Chiching) Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho with whom he had two children, Andres Luna San Pedro, and Maria de la Paz. Both died at early ages. (trivia-history.blogspot.com)

4. He excelled in painting and drawing, and was influenced by his brother, Manuel Luna, who, according to Filipino patriot Jose Rizal, was a better painter than Juan himself. (wikipedia.org)

5. He went to Ateneo Munipal and got a Bachelor of Arts degree. He also went to Escuela Nautica de Manila (now Philippine Merchant Marine Academy) and became a sailor. (trivia-history.blogspot.com)

6. Because of his exceptional talent in painting, Luna became a friend of the King of Spain who was an art enthusiast himself. (socyberty.com)

7. In 1884, Luna's huge painting, “Spolarium”, won the first Gold Medal at the Exposicion Nacional de Bellas Artes in Spain. Coincidentally, another Filipino, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo won the second prize in the same event for his painting, “Antigone”. (trivia-history.blogspot.com)

8. In 1881, his La Muerte de Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra) won him a silver medal and came in second place. (geringerart.com)

9. Luna was fond of painting his wife. However, the jealous Luna frequently accused his wife Paz of having an affair with a Surgeon Monsieur Dussaq. Finally in a fit of jealousy, he killed his wife and mother-in-law and wounded his brother-in-law, Felix, on September 23, 1892. (wikipedia.org)

10. His remains were buried in Hong Kong and in 1920 were exhumed and kept in Andres Luna's house, to be later transferred to a niche at the Crypt of the San Agustin Church in the Philippines. (wikipedia.org)

Juan Luna is considered as the finest painter this country has ever produced. He was very educated and was able to go to other countries to pursue his studies. But despite all his success in his career, by his jealousy and accusations, he killed his own wife with the same hands that painted his masterpieces.

The contributor Laurence Michael B. David, 19 years old, is from Mandaluyong City. He finished his secondary studies at Rizal Technological University and is currently taking up BS Information and Communications. He loves listening to music, playing basketball, and hanging out with his friends. He dreams to be a successful IT engineer and be able to support his family in the future.

Question for discussion:
Do you think Juan Luna deserves to be a role model to us students? Why?

Tags: Philippine History, Sociology, History, Araling Panlipunan (A.P.), Philippine Culture, Filipino, Kasaysayan, Philippine Studies

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