Hall of Masters
This room is dedicated to the 19th-century Filipino painters Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo who achieved prominence at the 1884 Madrid Exposition. Luna’s Spoliarium received one of the three gold medals and Hidalgo’s Virgenes Cristianas Expuestas al Populacho (Christian Virgins Presented to the Populace) received one of the fourteen silver medals.
The largest works in this room are Spoliarium and The Assassination of Governor Bustamante and His Son.
The Spoliarium is particularly significant because Filipino expatriates in Europe who were involved in the movement for reforms interpreted the image as a metaphor of the condition of the Philippines in the time of colonialism. The spoliarium was the place in the Roman coliseum where the dead or dying gladiators were stripped of their final belongings, in other words, despoiled.
The Assassination of Governor Bustamante and His Son chronicles in vivid detail the murder of Governor Bustamante and his son in the hands of the friars and their supporters at the staircase of the palace in 1719.
The main text of the room is the tribute of National Hero Jose Rizal to the triumph of the two artists in which he declares that genius knows no country. This was part of a speech to honor this auspicious occasion.