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Carlos “Botong” Francisco, National Artist for Visual Arts
About the National Artist
Carlos V. Francisco ((Nov. 4, 1912-March 31, 1969) was born and raised in Angono, Rizal. He was affectionately called “Botong” by his family and friends.
Botong spent his college years at the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts and during those days, specifically in 1959 he was the recipient of a Most Outstanding Alumnus award that gave an honour to his alma mater. On the contrary, he did not finish his degree and was forced to work. Later on before the war, he became a professor at the University Of Santo Tomas School Of Architecture and Fine Arts.
Botong Francisco single-handedly revived the forgotten art of mural and remained its most distinguished practitioner for nearly three decades. He was best known for his works which evidently depicted some of the country’s impactful historical moments. His pieces evoke a feel of our culture and tradition with vibrant colors and hues that capture his audience. Restorer Helmuth Josef Zotter once said that Botong’s art “is a prime example of linear painting where lines and contours appear like cutouts”.
He was one of the first Filipino modernists who revolutionized art and deviated Fernado Amorsolo’s romanticism of Philippines scenes. His works certainly attest his flawless skill in painting; some of whichare Blood Compact, First Mass at Limasawa, The Martyrdom of Rizal, Bayanihan, Magpupukot, Fiesta, Bayanihan sa Bukid, Sandugo, Portrait of Purita, The Invasion of Limahong, Serenade and Muslim Bethoral.
Botong also spearheaded in the discovery of the popular Angono Petroglyphs in 1965. He also had a brief stint in designing costumes for Philippines cinema. This year 2012, together with many institutions and museums, Freeway celebrates Botong Francisco’s 100th Anniversary.
He was rewarded as the National Artist for Painting, considered as the greatest muralist of the country and 1964 Republic of the Philippines Cultural Heritage awardee. Hailed as Philippine National Artist for Visual Arts in 1973.
View the Freeway x Botong Francisco National Artist Collectors Series Holiday Collection 2012, click this.