Provenance: Private Collection, Manila
However immense his accomplishments in aviation may be, Carmelo’s name perhaps will always be synonymous to local marine painting. While other more illustrious Filipino painters only occasionally focused on the sea as subject, Carmelo specialized in it. No other Filipino painter has made marine painting with the same historical perspective, attention to details, depth and love of the subject as Carmelo had shown in his works. He specialized in paintings of ships sailing in the high seas or docked in harbors. His art has been widely regarded as comparable to that of the English painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner and Wilhelm van de Velde the Younger, considered as the greatest of marine painters.
Hundreds of his canvases are found in museums and private collections in the country and in many plants of the world. His paintings of galleons, brigantines, frigates, schooners, clippers, Chinese junks in pastel, oil or watercolor have earned him high esteem and approval here and abroad. Some of the ships featured prominently in his works are historically significant, such as The Encounter of the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga and the Centurion. Other scenes depicted in his artworks feature areas of historical significance such as Fort Santiago, Muelle de la Industria, Estero de Binondo, Muelle de Magallanes and Muelle de Farola; and picturesque scenes of the Pasig River, Manila Bay, Cavite, Batangas, Bohol, Iloilo and Mindanao. In 2006, Alfredo Carmelo was elevated to the San Beda College Hall of Fame for his exemplary achievements.
Carmelo’s paintings are like portals that enable onlookers to travel back in time and get a better grasp of what it must have been like during those times. As what critic Señor Guillot Carratala once said: “Painting must teach, in the nam wasy that a good theater piece teaches our traditions and educates us.” Carmelo’s works and accomplishments have catapulted the Filipino to world prominence. Through him, marine painting in the Philippines was brought to its full realization.