National Artist for Painting (1981)

(January 22, 1910 – August 22, 1981)

Vicente Manansala‘s paintings are described as visions of reality teetering on the edge of abstraction. As a young boy, his talent was revealed through the copies he made of the Sagrada Familia and his mother’s portrait that he copied from a photograph. After finishing the fine arts course from the University of the Philippines, he ran away from home and later found himself at the Philippines Herald as an illustrator. It was there that Manansala developed close association with Hernando R. Ocampo, Cesar Legaspi, and Carlos Botong Francisco, the latter being the first he admired most. For Manansala, Botong was a master of the human figure. Among the masters, Manansala professes a preference for Cezanne and Picasso whom he says have achieved a balance of skill and artistry.

He trained at Paris and at Otis School of Drawing in Los Angeles. Manansala believes that the beauty of art is in the process, in the moment of doing a particular painting, closely associating it with the act of making love. “The climax is just when it’s really finished.”

manansala mother and child 1967
Mother and Child, 1967

Manansala’s works include A Cluster of Nipa Hut, San Francisco Del Monte,Banaklaot, I Believe in God, Market Venders, Madonna of the Slums, Still Life with Green Guitar, Via Crucis, Whirr, Nude.

List of Awardees