España y Filipinas

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España y Filipinas
Espana y Filipinas by Juan Luna.jpg
Artist Juan Luna
Year 1886
Medium oil on canvas
Location Lopez Memorial Museum

España y Filipinas, meaning “Spain and the Philippines” in translation, is an 1886 oil on wood[1][2] by Filipino painter, ilustrado, and revolutionary activist, Juan Luna. It is an allegorical depiction[3] of two women together, one a representation of Spain and the other of the Philippines.[4] The painting, also known as España Guiando a Filipinas ("Spain Leading the Philippines"),[5] is regarded as one of the “enduring pieces of legacy” that the Filipinos inherited from Luna.[6] The painting is a centerpiece art at the Luna Hall[1] of the Lopez Memorial Museum.[3][6]


The Spaniard woman or “Mother Fatherland" was drawn with “wide strong shoulders” while the Filipino woman was illustrated as “graceful” and brown-skinned. Both were wearing female dresses known as traje de mestiza or "dress of the mestiza". The dressing of the women in traje de mestizas shows the cultural character, class consciousness, and social transformations resulting from 19th century Hispanization. Both women have their backs to the viewer, heading towards a far-away horizon, while embarking on the steps of a staircase.[4] Side by side in the painting, Spain was shown to be leading the Philippines along the path to progress and development.[3]

The taller and maternal white figure of a woman is Spain, a representation of the "benevolent image of colonialism", is pointing ahead and guiding the "humbly dressed" Filipina to the "right way".[7] The painting appeared in the book entitled El legado de España a Filipinas or "the Spanish legacy in the Philippines" with the accompanying caption stating: España guiando a Filipinas por la senda del progreso (“Spain leads the Philippines on their way to progress”).[4] It is further described as a painting that once linked the colonized with its former colonists,[1] a "bucolic allegory" of the master and the servant "walking hand in hand".[7]

Historical significance[edit]

Although an oil on canvas masterpiece[1][8] that projected a close bond between Spain and the Philippines through feminine figures, it is a propaganda painting that revealed the true hope and desire of Filipino propagandists during the 19th-century: assimilation with Spain, reform, equality, modernization, and economic improvement. Contrary to Jose Rizal’s estimation that Luna was a “Hispanophile”, or a person who could never go against Spain, the España y Filipinas portrait is a “less combative posture” of Luna for showing to Spain and the viewers of the painting the needs of the Philippines at the time.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Rapadas, Don G. The Past is Just Nearby Archived 2008-11-21 at the Wayback Machine., Two private museums within the metropolis tell our history and describe our identity, Leisure, Philippine Business Magazine, Volume 8, No. 6,
  2. ^ Honasan, Alya B. "España y Filipinas" by Juan Luna, Into the 21st Century,
  3. ^ a b c Ocampo, Ambeth. Juan Luna’s works[permanent dead link], Looking Back, Inquirer Opinion/Columns, Inquirer,, October 24, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d Arrizón, Alicia. Queering Mestizaje: Transculturation and Performance, pages 146-149, University of Michigan Press ISBN 0-472-06955-1
  5. ^ Go, Kitty. España Guiando a Filipinas (Spain Leading the Philippines) by Juan Luna Archived 2008-10-02 at the Wayback Machine., from "Sotheby's to auction Hidalgo's 'La Parisienne'", Inquirer News Service,
  6. ^ a b Revisiting the Lopez Museum,
  7. ^ a b Tan, Clarissa. Acceptance, satire, rebellion Archived 2011-07-08 at the Wayback Machine. – the Philippine and Mexican exhibitions at the Singapore Art Museum show us the many ways artists deal with the powers that be,
  8. ^ "España y Filipinas", Juan Luna painting collection,; (...) "Having attained fame, Luna (...) received various government commissions. These commissions produced his great canvases, such as (...) "España y Filipinas." (..)

External links[edit]