by Luciano P.R. Santiago
Before Juan Luna or Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo were winning acclaim in the salons of Europe, there was a Filipino master in Tondo who earned his reputation among Spaniards and countrymen alike. Damián Domingo painted vivid official portraits and religious tableaux, and his albums of colorful tipos del pais immortalized the diverse costumes and lifestyles of the early nineteenth-century Philippines. All these bore his distinctly Filipino style, drawn from experience as a self-taught artist—experience which led to a career as a pioneering art teacher and director of the first Philippine art academy. Now, for the first time, Damián Domingo and his milieu are brought to life in a full length, lavishly illustrated art book. The artist’s surviving master-pieces are reproduced in lush detail, along with selected work from his contemporaries, descendant, and successors in the art world. With engaging prose and exhaustive research—including Domingo’s last will and testament and rediscovered self-portrait—Dr. Luciano P.R. Santiago sheds new light on a man who laid the foundations of Western art in the Philippines.
Through an engaging retelling of who may have mentored whom among the great Filipino artists, a careful tracing of Domingo’s genealogy, rare sweeping views pf the environs of Manila, and measured observations regarding the authenticity of Domingo’s oil paintngs and gouche/water color albums, this book is a fine reference for all who care to know about the Western roots of Philippine art...By focusing on the life of Domingo as a mestizo de sangley, the author provides the reader with a colorful central figure and an interesting narrative that spans the nineteenth century, a pivotal period in the development of Philippine painting.
Former Director, Ayala Musuem