10 Most Famous Paintings in the Philippines and the Artists

spoliarium National Museum of Fine Arts

Painting is a way for artists to do so many things: express emotions, convey ideas, and sometimes, make a change in the society. And these works of art reflect a nation’s culture. Just like what the talented Filipino famous painters do with their masterpieces. Paintings in Philippines aren’t like any other art. More than being aesthetically pleasing, the Filipino paintings show the country’s culture and history that shaped the present times.

Notable Paintings Philippines

Just like real estate properties, pieces of art like Filipino paintings don’t depreciate in value. Over time, the value increases as high as the cost of a high-end house and lot already. Here we’ve listed some of the most famous paintings in the Philippines that gave the country a cultural identity.

  1. The Making of the Philippine Flag by Fernando Amorsolo
  2. Spoliarium by Juan Luna
  3. Gathering of Heroes by Juanito Torres
  4. Filipino Struggles Through History by Carlos “Botong” Francisco
  5. Granadean Arabesque by José Joya
  6. Alkaff Bridge by Pacita Abad
  7. The Fishermen by Ang Kiukok
  8. Sabel by Benedicto Cabrera
  9. Three Women In A Landscape by Anita Magsaysay-Ho
  10. Noche Clara by Fernando Zóbel

What’s inside this blog?

Whether you want to discover the most notable traditional painting in the Philippines or the contemporary art famous paintings in the Philippines, we got you covered. Learn more about the arts in the Philippines as we listed the famous paintings in the Philippines.

1. The Making of the Philippine Flag by Fernando Amorsolo

Fernando Amorsolo’s The Making of the Philippine Flag is one of the most famous paintings in the Philippines. It shows three women (Marcela Agoncillo, her daughter Lorenza, and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, Dr. Jose Rizal’s niece). This Filipino painting may be the most notable but there are some stories going around saying that Amorsolo’s depiction isn’t accurate because one of the three women sewing the Philippine flag is a child. 

2. Spoliarium by Juan Luna

spoliarium National Museum of Fine Arts

Spoliarium—a gigantic painting more than 4 meters high and 7.5 meters wide, making it the largest painting in the Philippines—is among the most Philippine historical paintings created by Juan Luna. Although the painting does not portray any historical event or figure, this famous painting in the Philippines is considered an important symbol of the Philippine revolution. You can see Spoliarium at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

3. Gathering of Heroes by Juanito Torres

Gathering of Heroes by Juanito Torres paintings philippines

Photo courtesy of Galerie Joaquin via Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom

Another notable Filipino painting is the Gathering of Heroes created by the Filipino modern artist Juanito Torres. This famous art in the Philippines depicts key figures in Philippine history, including those part of the 19th-century Philippine movement, in what is said to be a composition reminiscent of Marvel’s “X-Men” cover.

4. Filipino Struggles Through History by Carlos “Botong” Francisco

According to the National Museum, the “Filipino Struggles Through History” is arguably the greatest extant work of  Filipino famous painter Carlos “Botong” Francisco, and among his last, as it was finished in 1968—only months before his death on March 31, 1969. 

In 1996, this Filipino painting was declared a National Cultural Treasure, which means that it is “a unique cultural property found locally, possessing outstanding historical, cultural, artistic and/or scientific value which is highly significant and important to the country and nation.” This famous painting in the Philippines can be seen at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

5. Granadean Arabesque by Jose Joya

The “Granadean Arabesque,” a masterpiece by Filipino famous painter and National Artist Jose Joya, is a horizontal Philippine abstract art which showcases different shades of yellow, broad strokes and an impasto mixed with sand. This masterpiece is an embodiment of Joya’s talent as a mixed-media artist and pioneer of modern Filipino paintings and art in the country

With a size of 305 cm by 118 cm, the Granadean Arabesque was among the works of Joya showcased to represent the Philippines in the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1964—the first time that the Philippines participated in the world’s longest-running biennale and the leading showplace for contemporary art and the international avant-garde.

6. Alkaff Bridge by Pacita Abad

Alkaff bridge by pacita abad paintings philippines

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

While this might not be the usual Filipino painting hanging on a wall, Alkaff Bridge in Singapore is one of the most popular works of art created by a notable painter in the Philippines, Pacita Abad. It is a 55-meter bridge covered in over 2,000 colourful circles making it among the most visited attractions in Singapore. The Alkaff Bridge was completed a few months before Pacita passed away from lung cancer in 2004.

7. The Fishermen by Ang Kiukok

Another Filipino painting worth noting is The Fishermen by National Artist Ang Kiukok. This Filipino famous painting depicts the hope and struggle of fishermen. The Fishermen shows a group working together as they haul a net telling us their struggle. While the crimson sun above is an emphatic symbol of constancy and perpetual energy. 

8. Sabel by Benedicto Cabrera

If you’re searching for contemporary Filipino painting, there’s a high chance you’ve stumbled upon the renowned Sabel by BenCab. According to him, “Sabel” was the woman she saw scavenging around his Bambang neighborhood in 1964. She took a photo of him and sketched it. To him, Sabel is a representation of not just a homeless woman but of any Filipina as well. Now, Sabel is a major subject that recurs through BenCab’s works through the decades.

9. Three Women In A Landscape by Anita Magsaysay-Ho

Three Women In A Landscape by Anita Magsaysay-Ho paintings philippines

Photo credits to Gandalf’s Gallery via Flickr

If you’re fond of Anita Magsaysay-Ho’s paintings, you’d notice that she likes to celebrate the Filipino women in her works. She is the first cousin of former president Ramon Magsaysay, a student of the well-known painter in the Philippines Fernando Amorsolo, and one of the pioneering Filipino modern artists.

Among her most famous paintings for sale Philippines is the “Three Women In A Landscape” portraying women with high cheekbones, slanted eyes, and beautiful morena skin surrounded by nature, harvesting crops, selling fish, or gathering grain.

10. Noche Clara by Fernando Zobel de Ayala

If the name Fernando M. Zóbel de Ayala rings a bell, that’s because he is part of the prominent and wealthy Ayala family. But more than being an Ayala, he is known for his talent for paintings Philippines. He has developed his distinct style that people came to know even with a glance, and is now considered among the most expensive artists in the country because of his painting price Philippines. His popular Filipino paintings are usually composed of blacks, whites, and blues. 

In May 2008, his piece Noche Clara was sold in Hong Kong for a whopping price of PHP 6,000 000, setting the record for the most expensive Philippines art painting. This record has been broken since, when in 2013, a work of his was sold at Sotheby’s for HKD 8,200,000 ($1,060,000).

Frequently Asked Questions About Paintings Philippines

Q: What are the famous paintings in the Philippines?

A: From easy Filipino paintings and mural painting in the Philippines to Fernando Amorsolo Filipino paintings, here’s a list of the most notable Filipino paintings:

  • The Making of the Philippine Flag by Fernando Amorsolo
  • Spoliarium by Juan Luna
  • Gathering of Heroes by Juanito Torres
  • Filipino Struggles Through History by Carlos “Botong” Francisco
  • Granadean Arabesque by José Joya
  • Alkaff Bridge by Pacita Abad
  • The Fishermen by Ang Kiukok
  • Sabel by Benedicto Cabrera
  • Three Women In A Landscape by Anita Magsaysay-Ho
  • Noche Clara by Fernando Zóbel

Q: Who is the national painter of the Philippines in 1972?

A: Fernando Amorsolo was the national painter of the Philippines in 1972. He became the first Filipino to be distinguished as the Philippine’s National Artist in Painting.

Q: What is the largest famous art in the Philippines?

A: Spoliarium is the largest painting in the Philippines with a size of 4 meters high and 7.5 meters wide. It can be found at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila.

Q: Who made the Spoliarium?

A: Juan Luna created the Spoliarium, a famous painting in the Philippines.

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