The Life and Art of Botong Francisco
Authored by Patrick D. Flores, Alice Guillermo, Ino M. Manalo, Roberto G. Paulino, and D.M. Reyes
Edited by Patrick D. Flores
A National Artist of the Philippines and a veritable hero in his hometown of Angono, Carlos “Botong” Francisco devoted his life to art. After spending the 1930s immersed in graphic art and modernism, he embarked on large-scale mural painting for which he became renowned. This artbook is a rich panoply of his masterpieces, both large and small. An extensive selection of his most notable paintings, sketches, and costume designs is beautifully supplemented with vintage photographs, documents, and film stills from over thirty public and private collections. An illustrated biography and essays by prominent art scholars offer interpretations of Botong’s life and art. Finally, forty years after Botong’s death, his work is the subject of the sweeping retrospective it deserves.
Botong Francisco’s Angono roots are uncovered anew in scholarly discussions of his works in this publication. The essays delve deep into Botong’s bonds to home, traditions, and history. We come to a new understanding of how much of Botong’s local ties inform, influence, and inspire his compelling visual articulation of the native, the heroic, the nationalist, and the modernist in his works.
—Florentina Colayco, Dean, UP College of Fine Arts
Exegesis of Botong Francisco’s visual text was the implicit challenge which the authors of this book imposed on themselves. How to wrest the critical literature on the works of the great Filipino muralist from its traditional folkloric reading has ever been the problem. The authors have refreshingly transcended the panegyric that through the years Botong has been wreathed with.
—Cid Reyes, art critic