Juan Luna’s Lost Masterpiece Rediscovered After 132 Years

Juan Luna’s lost masterpiece resurfaces after 132 years, igniting patriotic sentiments.

This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s July 2023 Issue.

Visitors were transported into a realm of nostalgia, history, and national pride as they eagerly awaited the unveiling of Juan Luna’s long-lost masterpiece, “Hymen, oh Hyménée!” 

READ ALSO: Heart Of Craft: Getting To Know An Unsung Hero Of Local Crafts

After being missing for 132 years, the painting has finally returned to its home country, marking a significant moment in Philippine art history.

Juan Luna "Hymen, oh Hyménée!" at ayala museum
Patxi Elizalde, Patsy Zobel de Ayala, Sofia Zobel Elizalde/Photo courtesy of Ayala Museum

In commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Philippine independence, the Ayala Museum collaborated with León Gallery to present the first-ever public appearance of Luna’s revered artwork. 

The event brought together art enthusiasts, history aficionados, and notable figures in the art scene, adding to the excitement and prestige of the occasion.

The extraordinary piece, also known as “Roman Wedding,” holds legendary status among art collectors, often regarded as the holy grail of Filipino art. 

Juan Luna "Hymen, oh Hyménée!" at ayala museum
Mariles Gustilo, Jaime Alfonso Zobel de Ayala, Victorino Manalo, Nina Aguas, Cezar Consing, Alice Eduardo, and Jaime Ponce de Leon/Photo courtesy of Ayala Museum

Its last public display was at the renowned Universal Exposition in Paris 132 years ago, sharing the spotlight with the iconic Eiffel Tower. 

Since then, it became enshrouded in mystery and speculation, captivating the imaginations of art enthusiasts worldwide.

The exhibition, aptly curated by scenographer Gino Gonzales under the title Splendor: Juan Luna, Painter as Hero at the Ayala Museum offers a captivating showcase of Luna’s artistic genius, featuring the immersive display of “Hymen, oh Hyménée!” 

Juan Luna "Hymen, oh Hyménée!" at ayala museum
Malu Gamboa Lindo, Manet Dayrit, Kidlat Tahimik, Mon Lindo/Photo courtesy of Ayala Museum

Visitors are invited to embark on a journey into Luna’s remarkable talent and delve into the splendor of his masterpiece.

The significance of Luna’s accomplishments, as described by historian Ambeth R. Ocampo, resonates with immense pride among fellow countrymen, mirroring the pride inspired by icons like Lea Salonga, Manny Pacquiao, and Hidilyn Diaz. 

Luna’s achievements have brought honor and joy to a grateful nation, adding to the rich tapestry of Filipino excellence.

Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia August 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.

Banner photo courtesy of Ayala Museum.

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]