VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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La Marquesa de Monte Olivar
FA-74-80
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

In Philippine art critique, Luna's paintings are loosely described as “impressionistic.” This is a fine example of a Philippine impressionist work. Luna was intrigued by the Impressionists and was quick to grasp the essence of their style. He described his own works to compatriot Jose Rizal, another Filipino in Europe, as a “mosaic of pure colors of the rainbow. ” Luna applied colors directly from the paint tube, daubing his applications side by side on the canvas, allowing the viewer’s eyes to blend them together to form a unified image. Although the Marquesa’s face is achieved through thinly applied layers of paint, her figure was subjected to thicker layers of paint. He chose in this formal work to confine his colors to varying shades of deep blue for the dress, white for the shawl, and pink and red tones for the complexion. To compensate for this somber, formal aura, Luna endowed La Marquesa with movement by rendering her shawl with quick strokes, which expediently evoked the varied textures in the embroidery. The brochadas—vigorous strokes usually made with a stubby brush—captured the essential forms and details in this portrait.

History of the Object
La Marquesa de Monte Olivar is one of the earliest works by Juan Luna in the Ayala Museum collection. The painting is a fine example of Luna’s early period and demonstrates his careful design and execution. It is painted in the manner of the figures in his 1881 competition pieces. It is possible that Luna painted La Marquesa after winning his silver medal for La muerte de Cleopatra. This early triumph had surely qualified him to undertake what was probably his first portrait commission from Spanish nobility. To date, little information is available on the identity of the marquesa. Notable exhibitions are Ayala Museum’s inaugural exhibit Pioneers of Philippine Art (2004) and Ayala Museum’s first international exhibition featuring its fine arts collection, Pioneers of Philippine Art: Luna Amorsolo Zobel at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California (2006). Donated in 1969, this painting is one of the first items in the museum's collection.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Oil on canvas 
Measurements
Width 68.6 cm. Length 104.2 cm  
Creator name
Juan Novicio Luna 
Creator date
1857-1899 
Where it was made
Spain; Madrid 
Geography
Spain 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; 1881 
Function
Painting 
Acquisition
Gift of Paz Zamora de Mascuñana in 1969 
Copyright
This photograph and information pertaining to the artwork pictured herein may be used only once and only for the purpose of the Virtual Collection of Masterpieces (VCM) project. The image may not be cropped or manipulated. Credits (title of artwork, artist, collection/owner, and Ayala Museum) should always be included when publishing this photograph. 
Acknowledgements
References: Capistrano – Baker, et al. Pioneers of Philippine Art: Luna, Amorsolo, Zobel Transnationalism in the late 19th – 20th Century. Manila: Ayala Foundation Inc., 2006. Paras-Perez, et al. Pioneers of Philippine Art: Luna, Amorsolo, Zobel. Manila: Ayala Foundation Inc., 2004. 
Owner
Ayala Museum 
Museum
Ayala Museum 
Credit line
Ayala Museum collection 

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