fabian de la rosa

Fabian de la Rosa (1869-1937) is yet another Filipino painter that deserves much recognition. He was part of that Filipino generation that produced the Ilustrados as he also lived at the turn of the century, witnessing the vast changes happening in the country—the transition from Spanish to American periods. It was the time when Filipinos were asserting their own identity amidst these overwhelming changes. Known as the “master of genre” in Philippine art, de la Rosa in his own way also contributed to this identity assertion by being one of the first Filipino artists to paint into the canvas the everyday life of Filipinos. In so doing, he dignified the Filipino, putting on the pedestal this distinct Filipino experience. From the fields of labor, as his paintings like “Women working in a rice field” (1902), or “Young Filipina” (1928), “Planting rice” (1921) would show, and even those depicting the riverside and the sea like “Fishermen’s Huts on Balut Island, Tondo,” or “Marikina Valley,” de la Rosa would see these ordinary snapshots of the Filipino social landscape as art. It is a worthy heirloom that he passed on to the student he mentored, the National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. 

Painting: El Kundiman (1930) by Fabian de la Rosa