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Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva – January 26, 2023

The Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva is observed every year on January 26. On this particular day, let us take a moment to look back on his life and career in sculpture. He has a station in the Manila Metro System dedicated to him. It’s near Recto Avenue, so you can ride the train and stop by to view his pieces. The artist Napoleon Abueva was born in Manila, Phillippine. He was a self-taught artist, who learned the art of sculpting after his only formal schooling at the Manila School of Arts and Trades ended when he turned 15.

History of Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva

Abueva was born in Manila on January 26, 1930, but grew up in Bohol. He showed an early interest in art and surprised his friends and siblings with his beautiful wooden sculptures. In the 1950s, he began his prolific artistic practice. He enrolled at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts in 1950 as a ‘Pura Villanueva-Kalaw Scholar,’ where he studied under National Artist Guillermo Tolentino.

As a student at U.P., he was already winning awards in art competitions sponsored by the Art Association of the Philippines, including first prize in the 1951 AAP Semi-Annual Competition and the top prize in the 1952 AAP Annual Art Competition. He attained a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1955 and was sponsored by the Fulbright Travel Grant and a Smith-Mundt scholarship while studying there.

Abueva completed a postgraduate course at the University of Kansas, and spent his summers studying at Harvard University. His education made him skilled in both classical and abstract representations, which is apparent in his numerous outstanding works, which have contributed to the development of modern Philippine sculpture. He was awarded the National Artist for Sculpture in 1976 — the youngest of all the award recipients. Abueva’s artistic skill and dedication inspired him to produce numerous works until he passed away on February 16, 2018.

Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva timeline

January 26, 1930
The Birth of a Master Sculpture

Born in Manila and growing up in Bohol, Napoleon Abueva shows an early interest in art and surprises his friends and siblings with his beautiful wooden sculptures.

1950s
The Start of Formal Training

He enrolls at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts as a Pura Villanueva-Kalaw Scholar.

1976
The National Artist for Sculpture

Abueva receives the 1976 National Artist for Sculpture award, the youngest of all the award recipients.

February 16, 2018
The End of an Era

Napoleon Abueva, National Artist for Sculpture, dies at 88.

Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva FAQs

What’s Napoleon Abueva's contribution to Filipino art?

Famous for helping shape the local sculpture scene, Virgilio “Myro” Abueva used many different materials in his sculptures, including hardwood, adobe, metal, stainless steel, cement, marble, bronze, iron, alabaster, coral, and brass.

What is the theme of Napoleon Abueva’s art?

The theme of motherhood runs throughout his work and serves as a good point of comparison for his varied techniques.

Which is Napoleon Abueva’s most famous art?

Among his major works are “Kaganapan” (1953), “Kiss of Judas” (1955), “Thirty Pieces of Silver,” “The Transfiguration” (1979), “Eternal Garden Memorial Park,” “The U.P. Gateway” (1967), “Nine Muses” (1994), and the Sunburst bronze figure at the Peninsula Manila Hotel.

How to Observe Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva

  1. Read about Abueva

    Abueva had many interesting things going on in his life. Today would be a great day to learn more about this artist.

  2. Take a look at his artworks

    Abueva is best remembered for his iconic sculptures. Some of these include; like “Anghelina” (angel), “The Artist's Wife” (ang babae ng artista) and “The Girl with Eggplant” (babae sa saging).

  3. Attend an art exhibition

    You can visit the gallery where Napoleon Abueva's works are displayed and see his masterpieces. If not, tour any other art gallery in honor of this great artist.

5 Interesting Facts About Sculputres

  1. The most expensive sculpture

    A buyer paid USD 141.3 million at an auction for the bronze "L' Homme au doigt" (“Pointing Man.”)

  2. The largest sculpture

    The Spring Temple Buddha, located in Henan Province, China, is the tallest statue globally, at 502 feet.

  3. The smallest sculpture

    The microscopic sculpture, made by artist Jonty Hurwitz, measured 1/100th of a centimeter and is the ‘smallest sculpture ever made.’

  4. The most famous sculpture

    The Venus of Willendorf, dating back to around 25,000 B.C., is an ivory carving representing a woman's body that was discovered in 1908 in Austria.

  5. The most unique sculpture

    In Italy, an odd sculpture of a handbag has been set up in honor of a woman's handbag.

Why Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva is Important

  1. He’s a national asset

    He is one of the most prominent Filipino artists in history. His works are displayed in museums all over the world and they have also been featured in international art shows.

  2. He inspires us

    Abueva is an inspiration to all artists, especially those just starting in this field. He is a true example of someone who never gave up on his dreams, chasing them until he became successful.

  3. He makes us see the beauty in art

    His works were mainly abstract, with some figurative elements to make them exciting or more meaningful. They had hidden meanings that only people who knew him well could understand.

Birth Anniversary of National Artist Napoleon Abueva dates

YearDateDay
2023January 26Thursday
2024January 26Friday
2025January 26Sunday
2026January 26Monday
2027January 26Tuesday

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