The Spoliarium
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The Spoliarium

The Spoliarium is a painting created by Filipino painter Juan Luna. Along with Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, he won the gold medal for this particular painting during the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1884, with Hidalgo winning a silver medal for his painting "The Assasination of Governor Bustamante and his Son."

The first thing you'll notice about the painting is it's size. Standing at 4 meters in height and 7 meters in width, the painting, no doubt commands attention and gives it a magestic aura. Any viewer of the painting will feel dwarfed by the large painting. The next thing you'll notice about the Spoliarium is the rich colors used. Predominantly, the painter made use of warm colors for his work of art, with reds being a central color that attracts the most attention. In person, the colors are striking and quite unique.

The Spoliarium depicts an even during the Roman empire, where gladiators die for entertainment. The painting shows how gladiators are being dragged mercilessly by men towards an unknown darkness, where other tragically killed gladiators are brought. To the left is a cheering crowd, screaming for blood while to the right, a woman is crouched and seemingly in sorrow. 

The painting shows a tragic event, definitely. But it also shows a deeper meaning, especially for the Filipinos during the time of the Spanish colonization (which laster over 400 years!). According to art experts, the fallen gladiators who are being dragged are the Filipino people, while the men dragging them into the darkness are representative of the Spanish rule. 

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