Lot #037

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo

Study for “La Derrota de Limahong (The Defeat of Limahong)”
signed (lower right)
charcoal and chalk on tinted Ingres paper
13” x 21” (33 cm x 53 cm)
Starting Bid : Php 300,000
HP + BP : Php 642,400
Provenance The Art Association of Richmond, Indiana De-accessioned work from the Art Association of Richmond, Indiana, U.S.A. (Donated in 1956.)
Alfredo Roces, in his monumental volume “Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo & the Generation of 1872”, aptly describes this study as “charcoal and chalk on Ingres paper” and as the first step in Hidalgo’s highly rigorous process to create his masterpieces. (Ingres paper, then as now, is one of the highest quality drawing papers.)
He explained in further detail, “In line with his academic approach, Hidalgo presumably began the studies of the over-all composition, arranging his figures and other elements into a cohesive whole, making sure the viewer focused on the main subject whole also getting his eye to move to the other parts of the canvas by the clever and precise positioning of these elements…. this over-all composition in pencil was then placed on a grid of squares, and by means of this grid, the drawing was transferred to a proportionately bigger grid of squares on the large canvas. It was a technique developed as early as the days of Michelangelo.”
“La Derrota de Limahong” tells the bloody aftermath of one of the triumphs of the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo, grandson of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and savior of Manila from the marauding pirate Limahong. In 1572, Limahong — already declared an outlaw by the Chinese emperor — attacked Manila and slayed the city’s commander, Martin de Goiti. Salcedo managed repel the buccaneer, fighting “like a lion.”
Later bocetos of the work show that the central figures were a Chinese warrior surrounded by Spanish soldiers. In the distance is a faint squarish outline — the shapes of Limahong’s fleet— which were razed and in later studies, eventually outlined in flames.
-Lisa Guerrero Nakpil