(Clockwise from left) An 1820 titled Portrait of Fr. Juan Antonio Zulaybar, OP, by Juan Arceo; UST alumna and top cosmetic surgeon Vicky Belo looking at Nuestra Senora de La Paloma, by an unknown artist; and Bayanihan by Fernando Amorsolo, dated 1959. Photos by Paul Allyson R. Quiambao and Jilson Seckler C. Tiu

IN CELEBRATION of its 140th year and the University’s Quadricentennial anniversary, the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences opened a part of its vast visual art collection for public viewing.

The exhibit, Visual Color of Grace, which opened last January 7 and will last until January 29, features a total of 48 paintings by renowned Filipino masters and up and coming artists alike.

Among the wide selection of artworks seen in the show are those of National Artists for visual arts Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos “Botong” Francisco and Vicente Manansala.

Works of established artists such as Juan Luna, Galo Ocampo, Anita Magsaysay-Ho were also displayed, along with works of Thomasian newbie painters like Mark Ramsel Salvatus, Ivan Roxas and Ronaldo Ventura.

The older works consist of genre works such as portraits and landscapes while newer works tackle edgier themes, and subjects, charting the evolution of Philippine art.

The exhibit boasts of a Juan Luna watercolor piece titled “Italian Soldier,” which dates back to 1880. The portrait shows an Italian soldier in full uniform set against pale tones of daytime.

Portraits of Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa, O.P., rector of the University, and former UST rector Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P., by Alfredo Esquillo and Fernando Amorsolo, respectively, are also exhibited alongside a 19th century painting of Mary Magdalene by Juan Arzeo. The last mural, showing angels showering vibrant fruits and flowers on the Magdalene, banners the exhibit. It was chosen to embody “unending grace” in time for the 400th anniversary of UST.

According to Fr, Isidro Abaño, O.P., the director of the UST Museum, Visual Color of Grace is the museum’s way of expressing gratitude to its patrons who have supported UST’s heritage conservation efforts through the Christmas Concert Gala 2010, its annual project to raise funds for the restoration and conservation of the visual arts collection.

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The display is not merely an exhibit but a comprehensive timeline of the history of Philippine visual art as well, Abaño added.

“Another purpose of the exhibit is to give the alumni the chance to see this very rare collection,” said Father Abaño.

Audiences will not be shortchanged as most of the works on display are those which, on normal circumstances, could only be seen in books and documentaries. The exhibit is only five percent of UST’s vast fine art collection, Abano said.

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