Showing nude figures without sexualizing them — just the pure abstracted nature of bodies, are rare in art. Legaspi’s nudes, full body or partial, ranged from the representational to abstractions. Alfredo Roces wrote that the late Cesar Legaspi was “a painter who was an important part of an informal school of artists who became known as the moderns in the ‘40s and ‘50s but who then continued to paint through rapidly changing chapters in Philippine history from the ‘60s to the early 90s when he triumphantly gained recognition as National Artist.”
The figure is neither overtly romantic nor bold, but seems lost in their sphere of calm. The figures are spontaneously executed and convey more abstract thoughts. Here, the colors are in a palette of earthy tones – black, brown, ochre, red and white. Far from being sensual, the figures are nebulously elegant, forms reduced to the utmost of abstraction, almost to the point of unfamiliarity.
His biomorphic forms strongly suggest pieces of sculpture standing in the landscape; the figures are interpreted by the eyes like crystallized minerals. Also, the artist’s peculiar approach tends to lapidify his forms because of a central allegory operating in his works: Man against nature is a struggle which often results in man and nature merging as one, as in stone sculpture depicting human forms.
While the darker torsos are ponderous, the brighter torsos are not ponderous but light and transparent structures, anatomical configurations of lights, shadows and reflections.