Image: Lopez Museum and Library Collection
Other homes before the war proudly displayed a lithograph titled “Galeria de Filipinos Ilustres (Gallery of Illustrious Filipinos)” that is of interest to historians because it resembles a class picture of our heroes. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are seated in the center of the group, together with Jose Burgos (Gomez and Zamora are absent), Antonio Luna, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Apolinario Mabini. Standing in the back are more obscure figures including Zulueta, Paterno, Regidor and others. These heroes were never photographed together, so this posed formal portrait is often dismissed as kitsch (baduy) when it is an early work of the National Artist for Sculpture Guillermo E. Tolentino.
The original drawing of “Filipinos Ilustres” was made around 1911 and was a composite from photos in history textbooks. Jorge Pineda transferred the drawing to lithographic stone, and it became a household icon reproduced without permission from the artist who didn’t earn a single centavo in royalties. Tolentino did not seem to mind and, with the excitement of all young artists, was content merely to see his work in many homes. After all, he was still a student at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts.
Read more: Face to face with Guillermo Tolentino