Monday, September 24, 2012

CLAUDIO BRAVO: Sojourn in Manila, The Philippine Portraits 4 Decades After

I have been to many museums before since I was a kid, but as I grow older, the visits became less. Museums play a pivotal role in preserving valuable art forms, may it be audio or visual.

Nowadays, oftentimes than not we neglect the fact that museums are one way of educating us what role the "Arts" play in our lives.

I am so privileged that at this point and time, I was able to find time again to visit a museum. My last last museum visit was at The Lopez Museum in Ortigas, Pasig. This time the museum I visited was Metropolitan Museum of Manila which is located at Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex Roxas Boulevard.

For the whole month of September 18 to October 20,2012, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in cooperation with The Embassy of Chile in the Philippines and Energy Development Corporation, CLAUDIO BRAVO: SOJOURN in MANILA.

I know you will be asking who Claudio Bravo exactly is. Just like anybody else who's not really in too much (albeit the renowned names in the ART world) Art, I'm clueless. But after meeting (who in my opinion is one amazing curator for giving visitors like me the most casual approach in educating us what the Claudio Bravo exhibit is all about) Ms.Tats Manahan; Who Says Art is BORING :) ?

Anyways, Claudio Bravo was born in Chile in 1936. He was greatly influenced by the Renaissance and Baroque artists like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacin, Girogio Morandi, Lucian Freud and etc.

Seeing his works for the first time, I would say that I am impressed with his portraits. Most of his portraits looked elegant. By the way, the portraits I'm talking about are the Philippine portraits he did in the Philippines during his 6-month stay in 1968.

The Chilean Ambassador (Roberto Mayorga)in the Philippines was even there with his wife, Paulina. They even got a picture of the visitors of the exhibit.

Bravo went here in the Philippines in 1968 to grace 40th wedding anniversary of Eugenio Lopez Sr. and Pacita Lopez. Although he was invited three years earlier (1965) by former First lady, Mrs. Imelda Marcos. Bravo particularly fell in love with the distinct Filipino history and imagery that he even decided to stay in Manila even after the foreign guests left.

The Manila Sojourn features original drawings and still life. It also highlighted the Manila portraits. These were the 29 portraits which were lent by Manila's luminaries to make the exhibit a reality. In fact it was the first time after 44 years with which these portraits are shown into public.

Let me quote what Claudio Bravo said about the Manila portraits.

" I think the Philippine portraits are, perhaps my most lucid paintings, because it was a different colors, and I could paint with colors like Matisse. Philippines was the tropics, a different vision of the world and of light. There I began to dare to use more " electric" colors and to enjoy color, something which I still like doing. There's a phrase of Van Gogh which has always impressed me a lot, that the painter of the future inn not going to express himself through drawing , chiaroscuro or the subject, but through color."

The portraits done by Bravo were usually given as gifts to the sitters which were mostly members of the high society, so imagine how he really love the Philippines and our people? Even if the sitters are of/from the high  society, it's not just the sitters' elegance that he tried to show in his works but also the emotion or humanity of each sitter.

This is one of those rare moments that I left a museum without a tiny single bit of boredom. I actually felt pride for my country, the Philippines, because Bravo's chose to stay in our country for loving our color and most importantly our race.

After his 6-month stay in the Philippines, he became famous with his portraits that his works were very in demand in Marlboro Gallery in New York. And maybe that was the reason he hasn't staged a comeback in the Philippines till he died June 4, 2011.

If you ask what are my favorite portraits in the exhibit? I would say that I marveled at all of them, most especially the Manila Portraits.

Imelda Romualdez Marcos
Former First lady 
(1968) Manila
Graphite, charcoal, and conte crayon on paper

Margarita Delos Reyes Cojuangco
Graphite , charcoal conte crayon and pastel on paper
1968 Manila

Regina Dee
Oil on Wood
1968 Manila

Conchita Lopez Taylor
Graphite, Charcoal, conte crayon, and pastel on paper
1968 Manila

Maria Lourdes Araneta Fores 
Graphite, Charcoal, Conte crayon and pastel on paper
1968 Manila
So far this has become my most favorite portrait among the Manila Portraits of Claudio Bravo.
The stance here is inspired from Venus Pudica ( meaning ashamed), but here in the portrait it looks as though  it's the opposite- She looks proud.

These are just some of the portraits that won my heart but wait there's more and all you need to do is just visit the Claudio Bravo: Manila Sojourn which will be open to public from September 17-October 20 2012, and I'm sure people of all ages most especially the upcoming painters and artists will learn and be inspired by his works.

The curator for Claudio Bravo: Manila Sojourn, Ms. Tats Manahan (Right) and me (on the Left). She's proud to have met Claudio Bravo during their visit in Claudio Bravo's home in Morroco in 1981. Once you met her, I'm sure you will be having a grand time imagining what if you were in her stories.

I am ending this post with a quote again from Claudio Bravo.

An Advice to Young Painters:

" I'd tell him to take painting very seriously because it's very difficult, it is not a caprice of a frivolous young person, but something for your whole and every day you learn something new. A painting isn't done in 24 hours, it's long, slow, very difficult. If you have enough courage, devout yourself to it, but don't think it's easy."

Where: Metropolitan Museum of Manila
            Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex Roxas Blvd. 
            1004 Manila, Philippines
Schedules: From September 18-October 20, 2012
                 Though the museums's closed on Holidays and Mondays of the month 
Tel#: (+632) 708-7829
Entrance fee: Php100 (applies to all may it be students or not).


  1. wow...Great portraits! I like to visit this exhibit soon.

    1. You should as it has been a breather for me as a blogger, visit Metropolitan Museum of Manila and you won't regret it

  2. I enjoyed our tour at Metropolitan Museum, paintings were awesome! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Here's my take on the Claudio Bravo's Sojourn in Manila, an exhibit.

  3. I agree that Museums are important in the preservation of all the tangible artifacts of a nation. I guess it is necessary for educational institutions to put in their curriculum or in their educational trips to go to the museums in order to for their students to be aware that our country has rich cultures and of course brilliants artists.

  4. No matter how digital or high-tech people are nowadays, I still prefer the old-school and timeless paintings. An art made by hand will always stomp something done with any software.

  5. I have read some info about this artist. It is nice to have personally seen his photo exhibit to fully well comprehend the creative skill Mr Bravo has.

  6. Wow! Fine paintings and rubbing elbows ka pa with dignitaries a. Good job! :D

    1. Yes that was the icing on the cake Mark! Though Ms. Tats Manahan did a great job as curator as she is one of the most engaging curator I have met so far!

  7. Claudio Bravo's art is super amazing! How I wish I could draw like him.

  8. ooohhh looks interesting. i love paintings, and i miss the smell of oil paint too! Regina Dee artwork looks really great!

    1. Yeah Regina Dee' s portrait is one of my fave too! I hope Fashion bloggers get to experience to have their portraits dine too! Btw I alwsys visit your blog when ever I want ideas about fashion

  9. Hi! I was there too last Saturday. I'm also not familiar with Claudio Bravo. But after seeing his works, I'm very much impressed. I've since been googling his name and looking at his later works.

  10. Looking at the your photos here, I'm sure Mr. Claudio Bravo will really go a long way. He got really nice crafts and masterpieces.

  11. great pieces! :) Sometimes i like to go on exhibits like this but rarely have the time. :) Anyways great post!
    The Bargain Doll

  12. I don't remember visiting any museums when I was little... but I'm definitely going to think I'd be bored to death if I did. But now I'm older, I am more appreciative and more fascinated with everything about the past. I enjoy museums now since I've been to a few already. Claudio Bravo did the right thing, stayed in the Philippines and be inspired with the beautiful filipinas for his masterpieces.

  13. Fine portraits ^_^ I am a sucker for museums and places that you can learn a lot! Will visit this soon.

  14. me too! I enjoyed going to MET. this is my first museum in years :)

  15. I can't remember anymore the last time I went to a museum. I love Imelda's portrait!