Sharing you what I found out about Philippine arts, which is a very interesting and amazing one. Anyone who are interested in Arts like I do will like and appreciate these works of art. The Native Arts with banana stalks
The Magic of Letras Y Figuras – Arts by Alvaro Jimenez
Paintings Philippines features the works of the great Filipino artist Alvaro Jimenez from his watercolor and acrylic masterpieces depicting Philippine Native Art carefully crafted in the canvass and even in unique banana stalks.
What is Letras Y Figuras?
Letras Y Figuras is an original manifest of the great Filipino sense of artistic design most especially during the colonial days. Letras Y Figuras is an art form in which the letters of the alphabets are painted in such a way that their contours are formed out of the shape of human figures, plants, animals, and quotidian objects. One artwork of Letras Y Figuras usually presents an individual’s name (first name, surname “apellido”, or initials) usually that of the patron.
Letras Y Figuras stunning works mainly centers on the illusory optical effects. The letras painter would spend hours depicting (even inventing) human and animal poses and actions—casual, acrobatic, or impossible—in order to form the contour of a specific letter. The illusion achieved, the finished painting held the viewer captivated in pleasurable distraction as he figured out the letters or the figures or whatever first attracted his glance.
As regards to the letras being uniquely Filipino, no old example of letter embellishment as an independent easel painting along the approach of the Filipinos’ letras has been found in any other culture. Although the art of letter embellishment may be traced back to the illumination of capital letters in medieval manuscripts, not one of these shows the deliberate exploitation of shapes of objects to form the letters.
History of Letras Y Figuras
The earliest example so far known of the letras y figuras dates to 1845 and this might have been painted in Manila at the time of the genre’s inception – if it weren’t the first one. The last extant specimens were done in the last decade of the American period, in the 1930s. By which time, there were letras y figuras painters all over Luzon region as suggested by specimens found in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Laguna – examples may still turn up in the Visayas – which shows the art form had then rooted as an artistic exercise, if not a genuine expression of the folk.
The earliest known painter of this genre, perhaps its inventor, is understandably also the most celebrated practitioner of the art – Jose Honorato Lozano. He lived from about 1821 to the 1880s. He became one of the illustrators of the magazine, La Illustracion del Oriente. His albums of watercolors of Philippine scenes became one of the most sought after items among the foreign business community. In 1995, an album of Lozano watercolors were auctioned at Christie’s London at the starting bid of 300,000 pounds.
Continuing this great legacy is one of the Best Filipino Painter – Alvaro Jimenez of Pampanga Philippines
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