Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Modern Spoliarium




I'm never a fan of boxing, of humans hurting each other while the crowd curses and cheers, all in the price of entertainment. But I believe in the power of Manny Pacquiao, that he is the modern god of the Pinoys: the entire shebang, including himself is symbolical. Manny Pacquiao is another "Elsa", that personifies another Himala. It's like looking at Juan Luna's masterpiece Spoliarium, a compendium of metaphors within metaphors, only on cable TV or LCD or mobile screen, depends on your budget, location and—culture.

Have you ever wondered how the Spoliarium, a painting as large as 4 meters by 7 meters was transported to the Philippines from Spain? Or how they managed the painting of that enormous size enters the small door of the National Museum? And how about this, how on earth was it stolen inside the National Museum, if the rumors were true?

The clue leads to the stitches. If you've seen the spectacular Spoliarium painting close enough, the canvas looks like a collage of overlapping canvasses sewn together and patched up with thick paint. Stories have it that moving the large painting by Juan Luna was a big task and money, they ended up slicing it into pieces and rolled off to a vessel in 18th century express delivery. Now it stands majestically yet chained inside the museum, paradoxical isn't it? That's the power of Spoliarium, just as Manny Pacquiao is.

There is no doubt Manny Pacquiao and Oscar Dela Hoya reaped more than beat and bouts, fame, and not to mention a google of a dollar. Yet, it's no different in the age of gladiators and barbarians, and of endless wars, only glorified by the modern times.

"Dog eat dog" digital photograph, uncensored prints available here.


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