Isabelo Tampinco (Fifty Shades of Philippine Art)
by Santiago Albano Pilar
This concise and beautifully illustrated book presents a capsule biography as well as a wide survey of master sculptor Isabelo Tampinco’s work. Though much has been obliterated by the war, enough artworks have been documented to reveal his highly distinctive Filipino aesthetic sensibility.
Isabelo Tampinco stood out from among his peers in sculpture during a time when luminaries like José Rizal, Juan Luna, and Félix Resurreción Hidalgo were transforming the world of Philippine art. The excellence of his sculpted figures, carved santos, intricate woodwork, and architectural decorations won him acclaim among Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. His work adorned private homes, public edifices, and churches, and in time, his distinctive use of native plant motifs in his designs became a uniquely Filipino spin on European art nouveau, one that would come to be known by his name—estilo Tampinco.
This book explores Isabelo Tampinco’s life and background and the influences that shaped him as an artist, as well as his legacy in art. A gallery of his extant works—along with archival photographs of his lost masterpieces, obliterated by the ravages of war—cement Tampinco’s status as one of the greats of all time.