A Tradition in Philippine Print Media
by Alejandro R. Roces
commemorate Stamp Collecting Month, the Philippine Postal Corporation has issued
five postage stamps honoring five distinguished Filipino painters. The five
are Fernando Amorsolo, Alfredo
Carmelo, Carlos V. "Botong" Francisco, Vicente Manansala and Arturo
Luz. First, I must commend the postal authorities not only for honoring our
art achievers but for their choice of artists. Amorsolo, of course, is a household
word. It was he who first captured the exact illumination of the Philippine
light in canvas. Great artists as they were, Juan Luna and Felix Ressurecion
Hidalgo still painted Philippine scenes with a European light.
"Botong" Francisco was our foremost muralist. Manansala and Luz are
also known to today's art connosieurs. It is Alfredo Carmelo's works that have
to be rediscovered by today's generation. He is the most interesting painter
in the group. To start with, he was not only a great painter, he was the very
first Filipino pilot. Of the five paintings chosen by the postal authorities,
it is Carmelo's that is the most historical. First, because it depicts a historical
event--"The Encounter of the Nuestra Sra. de Cavadonga and the Centurion."
It was only Carmelo who could paint the old galleons, clippers and schooners.
He was familiar with the riggings of their old sailing boats. His local maritime
paintings are world class. He was acclaimed as one of the last living authorities
on ships of the past era. We will never produce another painter who could depict
the ships of the past with authority. He is totally irreplaceable.
was the son of a successful painter-lithographer, the founder of Carmelo and
Baurman. His maternal grandfather had sailing ships that plied Visayas and Mindanao.
He was an:expert fencer and was the first Filipino car racer.
Again, we congratulate the postal authorities for honoring five great Filipino painters. We always thought that it would only be a matter of time that Alfredo Carmelo would be featured in a postage stamp as the very first Filipino aviator. We thought it would take more time for our authorities to recognize him for the great artist that he was. We under-estimated the postal authorities.
Star, February 3, 1998.
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