Short Info

DiedDecember 7, 1899, Cabanatuan, Philippines
SpouseMaria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera

Juan Luna y Novicio (October 23, 1857 – December 7, 1899) was a Filipino painter, sculptor and a political activist of the late 19th century. He became one of the first recognized Philippine artists. His winning the gold medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts, along with the silver win of fellow Filipino painter Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, prompted a celebration which came to be known as the fiesta de intramuros. Regarded for work done in the manner of the Spanish and French academies of his time, Luna painted literary and historical scenes, some with an underscore of political commentary.

Early Life

Luna was born in the town of Badoc, Ilocos Norte in the northern Philippines, to Don Manuel Luna, a landowner, and Doña Laureana Novicio Luna, a schoolteacher. The Lunas were wealthy and had landholdings in both Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Of the seven children born to the couple, only four survived: Juan, Antonio, Joaquín and Paciano.

Luna received his primary education from his mother until he was nine years old. He was then sent to Ateneo Municipal de Manila where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1877. He excelled in his studies and was also an accomplished singer. He was part of the Ateneo’s Glee Club where he sang tenor.


After graduation, Luna enrolled at Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, Spain on a government scholarship. He took painting lessons under Agustín Esteve. During his stay in Madrid, Luna became friends with fellow Filipino student Félix Resurrección Hidalgo with whom he would later share a studio.

In 1881, Luna’s La Muerte de Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra) won him second prize in a local competition sponsored by the Madrid Ayuntamiento (City Council). In 1882, he submitted two entries to the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes: La Batalla de Lepanto (The Battle of Lepanto) and La Muerte de Cleopatra. The latter won him a silver medal and was bought by the Spanish government for display at the Museo del Prado. In 1884, Luna won a gold medal for his painting Spoliarium at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes. The painting depicted the Roman practice of exposing the bodies of defeated gladiators in a public arena for scavengers to claim. The painting caused a sensation among critics and spectators alike, and Luna was hailed as one of Spain’s greatest artists at the time. His win prompted celebrations in the Philippines which came to be known as the fiesta de intramuros.

Luna’s Spoliarium was later brought to the Philippines and is currently on display at the National Museum of Fine Arts.

In 1886, Luna returned to the Philippines and married Paz Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho, a socialite from an influential family. The couple had four children: Andrés, Carmen, Alfonso and Jorge.

Luna established a studio in Binondo where he produced many of his famous paintings such as La última cena (The Last Supper), La batalla de Lepanto (The Battle of Lepanto), Retrato de la familia Zaragoza (Portrait of the Zaragoza Family) and El Pacto de Sangre (The Blood Compact). He also did portraits of prominent personalities such as José Rizal, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Apolinario Mabini.

In 1892, Luna and Hidalgo were commissioned by the Philippine government to paint murals at the newly constructed Legislative Building (now the National Museum of Fine Arts). The two artists worked on the project for over a year and completed a total of eight murals: The Triumph of Science over Death, The Triumph of Religion, The Four Seasons, The Evolution of Civilization, The Progress of Medicine, The Progress of Commerce, The Progress of Industry and The Progress of War.

In 1898, Luna was appointed director of Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Escultura (now the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts). He served in this position until his death in 1899.

Luna died on December 7, 1899 at the age of 42 from cancer of the liver. He was buried at Cementerio del Norte in Manila.

Net Worth

Juan Luna’s net worth is estimated to be $5 million. His annual salary is $1 million.

General Info

Full NameJuan Luna
DiedDecember 7, 1899, Cabanatuan, Philippines
ProfessionPainter, Visual Artist
EducationAteneo de Manila University, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy


SpouseMaria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera
ChildrenAndrés Luna de San Pedro, Bibi Luna
ParentsDon Joaquin Luna de San Pedro y Posadas, Doña Laureana Novicio y Ancheta
SiblingsAntonio Luna, Joaquin Luna, Jose Novicio Luna, Manuel Andres Novicio Luna, Numeriana Novicio Luna, Remedios Novicio Luna

Social profile links



Secreto sangriento1991Maloso I (as Juan J. Luna)
Matanza de judiciales1987Celador


Par alliance2005TV Series documentaryHimself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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