Topics: Manila, Woodrow Wilson, Philippines Pages: 5 (1647 words) Published: June 19, 2013
On 9 August 1930, a jury, created to select the best design honoring the Supremo of the Katipunan, met. The designs were entered under pseudonyms. The winning entry was under the pseudonym of Batang Elias – Tolentino was Batang Elias. He won the design for the Bonifacio Monument and was granted a commission for its installation. He completed the figures for the monument in 1932. Then, he sent the figures to Italy for bronze casting. In 1933, he completed the Bonifacio Monument.

apoleon V. Abueva

The Lady (Teodora Valenzuela Tiglao)

May 2011-- Guillermo Estrella Tolentino was born in Malolos, Bulacan on 24 July 1890. He was the fourth of eight children. His father was a tailor, whose only artistic trait is the love of playing the guitar. Guillermo or Memong, as his family called him, inherited this artistic skill. Moreover, Memong became one of the three best guitar players in the Philippines during his time.

Pasig City Museum
Before his formal schooling, he used to mold horses and dogs in clay, out of the materials from the banks of the fishponds in town. He studied at the Malolos Intermediate School. From fifth to sixth grade, his teacher was Mrs. H.A. Bordner who also gave him his first instructions in drawing.

Pasig City Museum
Shortly, he went to Malolos high school for two years. Then hearing from his cousin that there is an art school in Manila, he transferred to the Manila high school in Intramuros. In the afternoons, he attended classes at the School of Fine Arts, University of the Philippines. He took drawing classes under Vicente Rivera. Later on, he decided to take lessons in sculpture too, under Vicente Francisco. Soon, he was more interested in scuplture than in painting.

Pasig City Museum
In 1911, while he was still in high school, he made a group of drawing of Rizal, Burgos, Antonio and Juan Luna, Regidor and others. His Tata Pepe, with whom he was living, succeeded in interesting Severino Reyes to have the drawing lithographed. It was then published in Liwayway, whose editor was Reyes, under the title Grupo de Filipinos Ilustros. Although Tolentino never made a centavo out of the drawing, he was pleased to see his work in people’s homes everywhere.

Pasig City Museum
While studying at the School of Fine Arts, he supported himself by doing works for various marmolerias in Manila. In 1914, he did his first important work for architect Juan Arellano. The figure is that of a woman praying against a cross for the tomb of the Palma family in Cementerio del Norte. The same year, he executed the relief figures designed by Arellano on the facade of Casino Español on Taft Avenue.

In 1915, he graduated in Painting and Sculpture in the School of Fine Arts, with prizes in all subjects taken. However, he decided to stay for another year. During this time, he rendered the monument of San Miguel de Mayumo representing the Pact of Biak na Bato. Juan Arellano designed it.

Tolentino spent the year 1918 principally in Laguna. There, he worked with the contractor Tomas Zamora making monuments of Rizal, a mausoleum, and others. His friends, especially Precioso Palma, urged him to open up a shop of his own. They even offered him money to enable him to do so. He would not accept. When asked why, he quitely answered, “Because I was not yet a scupltor” (Paras-Perez, 1972).

Soon, he decided to go to America. In 1919, he arrived in Washington, D.C. He worked as a waiter in a cafe in Rock Creek Park. Inspired by President Woodrow Wilson’s work for peace, he created a small statue symbolizing “peace” – hoping someday he may be able to present it to the President. He confided this to the manager who later spoke of the matter to the private secretary of Mrs. Wilson, who used to frequent the cafe. Shortly, Tolentino secured an audience with President Wilson at the White House, marking the turning point in the beginning of his carrer.

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