Thursday, April 8, 2010

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo on Stamps

Félix Resurrección Hidalgo y Padilla (21 February 1855 - 13 March 1913) was a Filipino artist. He is acknowledged as one of the great Filipino painters of the late 19th century, and is significant in Philippine history for having been an acquaintance and inspiration for members of the Philippine reform movement which included José Rizal, Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce and Graciano López Jaena, although he neither involved himself directly in that movement, nor later associate himself with the First Philippine Republic under Emilio Aguinaldo.

His winning the silver medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts, along with the gold win of fellow Filipino painter Juan Luna, prompted a celebration which was a major highlight in the memoirs of members of the Philippine reform movement, with Rizal toasting to the two painters' good health and citing their win as evidence that Filipinos and Spaniards were equals.

Hidalgo was born in Binondo Manila on February 21, 1855. He was the third of seven children of Eduardo Resurrección Hidalgo and Maria Barbara Padilla. He studied in the University of Santo Tomas. He studied law, which he never finished, received a bacheller en filosifia in March 1871. He was simultaneously enrolled at the Escuela de Dibujo y Pintura. In 1876, he previewed his La banca (The Native Boat), Vendadora de lanzones (Lanzones Vendor) and other paintings at the Teatro Circo de Bilibid before they were sent to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of that year. In 1878, he painted the poignant and well-crafted Los mendigos (The Beggars).

In 1877, Resurreccion Hidalgo was awarded second place in the contest for best cover design for the de luxe edition of Fr. Manuel Blanco's Flora de Filipinas ("Plants of the Philippines"). In 1879 he left for Spain as a pensionado in fine arts of the Ayuntamiento of Manila.

His Las virgenes Cristianas expuestas al populacho (The Christian virgins Exposed to the Populace), was awarded the ninth silver medal at the 1884 Exposición General de Bellas Artes in Madrid. This showed a group of boorish looking males mocking semi-naked female slaves, one of whom is seated in the foreground, with head bowed in misery. In the same exposition Luna's Spoliarium was awarded a gold medal.

In the Exposición General de las Islas Filipinas in Madrid in 1887, Resurrección Hidalgo presented La barca de Aqueronte ("The Boat of Charon"),1887, and Laguna estigia ("The Styx"), 1887, for which he received a gold medal. La barca was again shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris and was awarded a silver medal by an international jury. In 1891 it was accorded a diploma of honor at the Exposición General de Bellas Artes of Barcelona. This painting also received a gold medal in the International Exposition of Fine Arts in Madrid during the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

He exhibited Adios al sol ("Farewell to, the Sun"), 1891 at the Exposición Internacional de Bellas Artes in Madrid in that year and El crepusculo ("The Dawn"), 1893, at the Universal exposition in Chicago, also in that year. He showed both paintings again at the Exposición Artistica de Bilbao in August 1894. In the Exposición Regional de Filipinas in Manila in January 1895, Resurrección Hidalgo was represented by his paintings done in the grand romantic manner. In April of the same year he exhibited Oedipus y Antigone ("Oedipus and Antigone"), El violinista ("The Violinist"), Cabeza napolitana ("Head of a Neapolitan"), Cabeza del viejo ("Head of an Old Man"), Un religioso ("A Religious"), and others at the Salon at Champs Elysees, Paris.

Hidalgo received a gold medal for his overall participation at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904. His El violinista was individually accorded a gold medal. In 1912, he visited his relatives in Manila for six months, after which he hurried back to Paris. His mother, who had not seen him for 30 years, wanted him to be with her in her last days but he had to leave. The following year, Resurrección Hidalgo died at Sarrià, Barcelona where he went to recuperate from failing health. His remains were brought to Manila, where it now lies entombed in the family mausoleum at the Cementerio del Norte.

Date of Issue June 15, 1988