Thursday, May 13, 2010

(Social) Realism: Philippines

Victorio C Edades
(1895 - 1985)
Victorio C. Edades (December 13, 1895 - March 7, 1985) is a Filipino painter who was the leader of the revolutionary Thirteen Moderns who engaged their classical compatriots in heated debate over the nature and function of art. He was named a National Artist in 1976. Subjects are distorted figures (those whose proportions defy classical measure), and Edades’ brush strokes are agitated and harsh. The choice of his subject also caused quite a stir to those who viewed the show. He portrayed tough, dirty construction laborers and simple folk wrestling in dung and dust. Even his nudes are nothing like Amorsolo’s portrayal of the Filipina at her best.

With the uproar Edades’ ideas raised, he knew that he cannot make a living out by merely painting what he wished. So he got by producing commissioned works, particularly murals. He did murals for prominent individuals (like Juan Nakpil) and institutions. His later works are said to be ‘flatter.’ His portraits and genre paintings in Davao are not seen to be as heavy or solid as his earlier phase with The Builders. From Cézanne, Edades grew more interested in the style of Utamaro of Japan and other artists whose charm is in color rather than solidity.

Vincente Manansala (1910 - 1981)
Vicente Silva Manansala (January 22, 1910 - August 22, 1981) was a Philippine cubist painter and illustrator. Manansala's canvases were described as masterpieces that brought the cultures of the barrio and the city together. His Madonna of the Slums is a portrayal of a mother and child from the countryside who became urban shanty residents once in the city. In his Jeepneys, Manansala combined the elements of provincial folk culture with the congestion issues of the city. Manansala developed transparent cubism, wherein the "delicate tones, shapes, and patterns of figure and environment are masterfully superimposed". A fine example of Manansala using this "transparent and translucent" technique is his composition, Kalabaw (Carabao).,etc/daig_m1.jpg

Carlos V. Francisco [Botong] (1912 – 1969)
Carlos V. Francisco (November 4, 1912 – March 31, 1969), popularly known as Botong, was a muralist from Angono, Rizal. Francisco was a most distinguished practitioner of mural painting for many decades and best known for his historical pieces. He was one of the first Filipino modernists along with Galo Ocampo and Victorio C. Edades who broke away from Fernando Amorsolo's romanticism of Philippine scenes.His great works include Blood Compact, First Mass at Limasawa, The Martyrdom of Rizal, Bayanihan, Magpupukot, Fiesta, Bayanihan sa Bukid, Sandugo, Portrait of Purita, The Invasion of Limahong, Serenade, and Muslim Betrothal.

Pablo Baen Santos

Benedicto Cabrera (1942)
Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, who signs his paintings "BenCab", is a National Artist of the Philippines for Visual Arts (Painting), and has been noted as "arguably the best-selling painter of his generation of Filipino artists." When BenCab returned to the Philippines in 1972, he was hailed as a Filipino pioneer of the arts and a significant influence among his peers. However, he returned to London once more in 1974, partly to get away from the tightening grip of Martial Law, which Ferdinand Marcos had declared in 1972. That event is said to have "marked the beginning of [BenCab]'s passionate involvement with social commentary and the topics of repression and freedom."

Antipas Delotavo

World (Social) Realist Art (Index of Countries)
This blog page is part of an ongoing project by artist and part-time lecturer Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin ( to explore Realist / Social Realist art from around the world. The term Realism is used in its broadest sense to include 19th century Realism and Naturalism as well as 20th century Impressionism (which after all was following in the path of Courbet and Millet). Social Realism covers art that seeks to examine the living and working conditions of ordinary people (examples include German Expressionism, American Ashcan School and the Mexican Muralists).

Click here for (Social) Realist Art Definitions, World (Social) Realism and Global Solidarity, Art and Politics, Social Realism in history and Country Index.

Suggestions for appropriate artists from around the world welcome to

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