A fitting culmination to Ayala Museum’s Juan Luna exhibit

Splendid show to celebrate ‘Splendor.’ VIPs in attendance together with the Manila Symphony Orchestra are (front row, from left), Esperanza Padilla, Alejandro Padilla, Kit Zobel, MSO executive director Jeffrey Solares, Lisa Guerrero Nakpil of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, León Gallery founder and director Jaime Ponce de Leon, Ayala Foundation, Inc. president Tony Lambino, and MSO principal conductor Marlon Chen, (second row, from left) Beltran Padilla, AFI senior director for Finance Felipe Estrella III, AFI senior director for Corporate Resources Andrian Villanueva, AFI senior director for Arts and Culture Mariles Gustilo and AFI chairman of the Board of Trustees Fernando Zóbel de Ayala.

On 21 March, Ayala Museum celebrated the run of its breakthrough exhibit, Splendor: Juan Luna, Painter as Hero with Universelle: An Exclusive Concert for its sponsors, partners and collaborators.

With the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Marlon Chen in the house, the show featured classical music by Spanish, French, Italian, and Filipino composers predominantly from Juan Luna’s time. Highlights of the night include Satie’s “Trois Gymnopedie no. 3,” Julio Nakpil’s “Salve Patria,” and the contemporary “A New Satiesfaction” by Stephan Koncz.

In attendance were US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, Ayala Foundation chairman Fernando Zóbel de Ayala and Jaime Ponce de Leon, founder and director of León Gallery. Ponce de Leon lent Ayala Museum Splendor’s centerpiece artwork, Hymen, oh Hyménée! in time for the 125th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine independence.

“2023 was a stellar year for Ayala Museum primarily because of [Splendor], setting record-breaking attendance…[and] prompting widespread and timely conversation about heroes, national pride, history and nationhood, from the contentious to the sublime,” said Mariles Gustilo, senior director of Ayala Museum.

Tony Lambino, president of Ayala Foundation, added, “Splendor [brought] to the fore a long-lost masterpiece, catalyzing public discourse on our rich artistic and cultural treasures. Luna’s work is yet another reminder that Filipino talent and creativity are worth global recognition. The legacy of Juan Luna in global excellence is broadly shared today by many young Juans and Marias.”

Ayala Foundation manages the Ayala Museum as part of its Arts and Culture Division.

Splendor was an unprecedented single-work exhibition around Luna’s Hymen, which was lost from public view for more than a century and is considered the holy grail of Philippine art. It ran for nine months from 12 June 2023 to 24 March 2024, and was co-presented by Ayala Corporation, Ayala Land, and InLife, sponsored by BPI and SMEG, and supported by Matimco and Samsung.