What Is Philippine Art History?

Art|Art History

Philippine art history is a complex and multifaceted subject. It is an exploration of the various forms of art that have been created in the Philippines over the centuries. From traditional works of sculpture, painting, and architecture to contemporary works of digital media, Philippine art history covers a wide range of artistic expressions.

The earliest known artwork from the Philippines is believed to be a terracotta figurine from around 1000 BC. This figurine was found in Tabon Cave in Palawan, and is thought to be associated with the ancient people known as the Tabon Man. From then on, a variety of different forms of art began to emerge.

In the 16th century, Spanish colonization brought European influences to Philippine art. This was evident in sculptures, paintings, furniture designs, and other works of art that incorporated both indigenous and European elements. The most notable example is the San Agustin Church in Manila which features a mix of Baroque architecture with local motifs.

In the late 19th century, during the American colonial period, modernist styles such as Impressionism and Realism began to take hold in Philippine art circles. Artists like Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Fabian de la Rosa painted landscapes and portraits that were influenced by these new styles. In addition to painting, Filipino sculptors like Guillermo Tolentino produced sculptures that were influenced by classical European styles as well as Filipino traditions such as folk sculpture and religious iconography.

The 20th century saw continued experimentation with modernist styles alongside more traditional forms such as mural painting and folk arts like weaving and basketry. Notable Filipino painters such as Fernando Amorsolo blended nationalistic themes with Impressionist techniques while modernists like Victorio Edades created abstract works that explored social issues through geometric shapes and colours.

In recent decades, Philippine art has become increasingly diverse with artists experimenting with new media such as photography, performance art, video art, installation art, interactive multimedia installations, public artwork projects and street murals. Themes explored have included social issues such as poverty or gender inequality alongside more personal expressions of identity or self-expression through graffiti or other forms of street art.

What Is Philippine Art History?
Philippine Art History is an exploration into centuries worth of artistic expression from traditional sculptures to contemporary multimedia installations which reflect both local culture as well as external influences from European colonization and beyond. It serves both to celebrate Filipino creativity while also providing insight into our shared pasts; how we got here today and what paths lie ahead for our future generations.