Bronze Juan Luna bust finds new home at National Museum of Fine Arts
MANILA, Philippines — The MIB Capital Corporation has turned over the bronze bust of Juan Luna to the National Museum of the Philippines in a ceremony held on Tuesday.
In a statement, National Museum director-general Jeremy Barns expressed hope that Filipinos will see this as an act of goodwill and a happy ending to the art piece, which was believed to have lost in the midst of the Battle of Manila in 1945, as some of his paintings were destroyed by fire during World War II.
“My hope is that all Filipinos will be able to take in their hearts this act of goodwill as well as the fact that we are writing, at this moment, the happiest possible ending to the 78-year-long story of the loss to the nation of this fine effigy of arguably the greatest Filipino painter,” Barns said.
In September, the bust, which was sculpted by Spanish artist Mariano Benlliure, was scheduled to be auctioned off to the public, but Barns asked to put it on hold on account of the origin of the bust.
The auction house Salcedo Auctions consented to the request.
Meanwhile, MIB Capital Corporation Chairperson Marilou I. Cristobal said that this turnover was an honor and a privilege as many Filipinos can now view the bust.
“Turning over this historical artwork to the National Museum of the Philippines, who will let the Filipino people view and admire such an artwork, is both an honor and a privilege,” Cristobal stated.
The bust is available for public view starting Wednesday at the Spoliarium Hall, second floor of the National Museum of Fine Arts.