These Are The Iconic Paintings That Forever Defined The Face Of The Filipina In Art



What does a Filipina look like? One scroll over your newsfeed and you’d see hundreds of TikTok videos of girls with porcelain skin, silky hair and probably a swipe of red. But where local art is concerned, you are far more radiant than that standard.

While there’s nothing wrong with that (your body, your choice!), let’s go back in time when our country wasn’t plagued with whitening products. Brown skin, dark curly hair, and bare faced beauties—these are the common photos of the early Filipinas that surfaced upon a simple Google search. (Quick, do it yourself.) As a child, have you ever wondered, why were we taught to stay out of the sun to not get any darker? Why was it so ingrained in us that the only way you can be accepted by society was to have skin light as snow? How much did our standards of beauty change since gaining our freedom from colonization?

Immortalizing the different facets of the Filipina, we pay homage to infamous artists who’ve wielded their brushes and straightened their canvases to depict the spirit of the said woman—from her vulnerabilities, her beauty, her grace, down to her grit in this fashion editorial.

WOMAN WITH FAN BY BEN CAB

Benedicto Cabrera or Ben Cab has been known for his thought-provoking muses. Most notably Sabel, a bedraggled woman wandering the streets wearing straps of plastic that he painted beautifully. White dress with puffed sleeves (worn as top) by STEPH TAN, Two-toned banaca wraps both by DITTA SANDICO

FILIPINA BY FABIAN DELA ROSA

Born to a family of artists, Fabian dela Rosa was hailed as the Master of Genre in the Philippines and served as the uncled and mentor to both Fernando and Pablo Amorsolo.

Gazar terno by RAFFAELA at KULTURA, Two-toned banaca wrap by DITTA SANDICO, Black pencil skirt by WEAVE, Floral embroidered skirt by JINKIE TAN, Taupe black heels by CHARLES & KEITH and leather bag by ARANAZ

THE MAID OF BATAAN BY FERNANDO AMORSOLO

During the years of war, Fernando Amorsolo’s beautiful landscapes and the ebullient smiles have vanished, and his canvas was dominated by burning edifices, death and despair.

Cream banaca wrap (worn as head scarf) and rust banaca ovoid top both by DITTA SANDICO and Gold embellished dress by JUDE MACASINAG

THE PALAY MAIDEN BY FERNANDO AMORSOLO

Probably one of his best-known pieces, Fernando Amorsolo was known for his mastery of natural outdoor light, a trademark that was later called the Philippine Sun.

Floral organza top with puffed sleeves by PHILIP RODRIGUEZ and Red taffeta skirt by NUEVO YSTILO at KULTURA

LA INOCENCIA BY FELIX RESURRECCION HIDALGO

Late 19th century gold medalist painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo not only was influential in the arts, but also served as inspiration for the Philippine reform movement which included Rizal.

Cropped terno and rust banaca skirt both by DITTA SANDICO, Blue organza top by NUEVO YSTILO at KULTURA, Straw hat by PJ ARANADOR, and Taupe block heels by CHARLES & KEITH

UNA BULAQUENA BY JUAN LUNA

Known for his temperamental nature, Juan Luna was an icon in Philippine history not only as a painter but also as a political activist.

Gold cape by JUDE MACASINAG, Cream and gold banaca wrap (worn as top and skirt) both by DITTA SANDICO
Photography MJ SUAYAN
Art Direction JANN PASCUA
Styling LYN ALUMNO
Makeup JR CONSTANTINO
Hair DOROTHY MAMALIO
Model YAOFA of MERCATOR MODELS
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