AS PART of the Quadricentennial, UST unveiled 41 restored paintings from its most prized fine arts collection and opened them for public viewing last Nov. 18 at the restored UST Hall of Visual Arts, formerly the UST Museum’s Art Gallery.

It was not the first time that the University opened its art collection to the public. The UST Museum inaugurated its first art gallery in the 1940s upon the initiative of then rector Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P. Last year, the exhibit Visual Colors of Grace showcased rare pieces in the UST collection, a sneak peek of the forthcoming Hall of Visual Arts.

According to UST Museum Director Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P., the University has Father Sancho to thank for. It was the late Dominican’s earnest dedication to establishing a university art gallery that inspired the present administration to create a permanent exhibit of its collection, Abaño added.

Father Rector Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. lauded the opening of the Hall of Visual Arts because it finally allowed UST “to share with the people the treasures it has been hiding for so many years.”

A portrait of Jose Rizal by National Artist for the Visual Arts Victorio Edades stands out in the collection. Edades, the father of Philippine modern art, founded the University’s old College of Fine Arts and Architecture (Cafa), which is now divided into the College of Architecture and the College of Fine Arts and Design.

Other National Artists whose works are on display are Vicente Manansala, Botong Francisco, and Fernando Amorsolo.

Four of Amorsolo’s true-to-life renditions of everyday scenes and personalities serve as centerpieces of the Hall of Visual Arts, which was formerly the office of the auditor located at the right side of the Museum.

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Other invaluable works displayed are Juan Luna, Galo Ocampo, Romualdo Locatelli, and Juan Arceo pieces.

Oldest in the exhibit is Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo’s 136-year-old painting titled “El Studio Natural.”

Most of the paintings have survived the passage of time because of successful restoration. For the last four years, part of the estimated P4 million to P8 million collected from the UST Christmas Concert Gala went to the restoration of the works. The funds raised by the annual concert were allotted to the UST Museum’s restoration project and the Conservatory of Music’s scholarship program.

“UST is not only for Thomasians, it is for the Filipino community to appreciate and enjoy—it is part of the heritage of the Filipino people,” said Ma. Cristina Zobel, co-chair of the UST Christmas Concert Gala slated on Dec. 1.

Zobel, a patroness of the visual and musical arts, said that they always try to raise as much as they can yearly to be able to continuously support the University’s restoration efforts, which according to her, “still has a long way to go.” With reports from Marianne L. Lastra and Reden D. Madrid

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