Print Gallery

Print Gallery highlights vintage maps, prints, photographs and postcards on the Philippines, along with contemporary prints and photographs. It is also used as a smaller venue for changing exhibitions.

Currently on Exhibit:

12 April to 11June 2017

In the sword-and- cross colonization of the Philippines by Spain, estampas or prints of religious icons were popularly used as visual aids for the propagation of the faith. The life of Christ, patron saints and angels, church dogma, and chancery themes were popular subjects. 

These hand-printed icons were framed and posted on altars, printed on catechisms, devotional books, novenas, and pasyon, while miniature ones were used as markers called estampitas.

Filipino copper engraving flowered in the 18th century, the era when Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay, Francisco Suarez, Laureano Atlas, Phelipe Sevilla, and their guilds produced the most excellent estampitas. Little is known about the lives of these artists, but it is fortunate that some of their work has been preserved. Though conquistadores fed them with European examples to copy, iconography inevitably changed in local (some could be Chinese, Mexican, or mestizo) hands. The isometric designs and relative flatness of drawn narratives and embellishments were inspired by the vernacularized milieu of church retablos, virinas, sacramental objects, home altars, bahay kubo, and religious street dramas.  It is these nuances that make these engravings distinctive.

The fine pieces on exhibit here are restrikes hand-printed from the original copper engravings by Francisco Suarez, Vicente Atlas, Phelipe Sevilla, Ysidro Paulino, and some anonymous artists. Most were part of a graphic heritage revitalization project that artist, printmaker, and writer Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, undertook with the late Rev. Fr. Merino Antolinez O.P. and artist-historian Dr. Rod Paras Perez some 25 years ago and were included in the book Filipino Engravings published by the defunct Ylang Ylang Graphic Group.