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Lorenzo Guerrero: artist, genius, Filipino.

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Today is the birth anniversary of Lorenzo Guerrero. He’s from Ermita, Manila, belonging to the legendary ilustrado family: los Guerrero.

Guerrero was one of eminent painter Juan Luna’s teachers during the latter’s youth.

Below is a brief biographical sketch of Lorenzo Guerrero written by Héctor K. Villaroel (from the 1965 book EMINENT FILIPINOS which was published by the National Historical Commission, a precursor of today’s National Historical Institute).


A great painter and art teacher whose “primitive brush strokes found solidity and vigor in the canvases of Luna and de la Rosa,” Lorenzo Guerrero was born in Ermita, Manila, on November 4, 1835, to León Jorge Guerrero and Clara Leogardo.

He studied Latin at San José College; and painting, briefly, under different Spanish masters, like Cortina and Valdez; and, perhaps for a long period, under Agustín Sáez. At the age of 16 he started giving lessons in drawing. José Rizal described him as a “master who had virtually taught himself.”

In 1858, together with Lorenzo Rocha y Ycaza, he was appointed ayudante de naturales in the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura. Likewise, he gave drawing lessons at Santa Isabel and La Concordia colleges, and worked as a private tutor of the sons and daughters of Manila’s prominent families. Two of his students, Juan Luna and Fabián de la Rosa, won international acclaim.

As a connoisseur of music and literature, he had his house in Ermita turned to a veritable salon where Manila’s intellectuals met and exchanged views. As a gifted painter, whose delicacy of execution and handling of light and shadow was incomparable, he centered his work on two subjects — religious themes and scenes depicting native life and customs. His religious paintings that were housed and greatly treasured in the churches were “Nuestra Señora de Guía,” “Santa Filomena,” “Saint John the Baptist,” and “Santa Verónica de Julianus.” Similarly appreciated were the reproductions of local scenes, like the “Chinese Vendor of Tsin-Tsao,” “River’s Bend,” and “Scene at a Brook,” which were exhibited at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904.

Lorenzo married Clemencia Ramírez in 1868 by whom he had two children.

He died rather suddenly of acute asthma in Ermita on April 8, 1904.


6 responses »

  1. hi good day to you. I’ve been reading your blog since the first time i came across it. I’m really fascinated on how you write about the Philippine history and stuff. Anyway, I just like to ask, since you are very familiar with some Filipino writers have you read books or novels done by the late Dionisio Salazar? He’s the father of a friend of mine and I learned that he has won some awards during his time, and that he used to be a professor at FEU (I think).

    Again have a good day and good job on your blog. ^_^


  2. Thank you for your patronage! =)

    My apologies. I’m not familiar with him. I read mostly Filipino authors who wrote in Spanish (Manuel Bernabé, Jesús Balmori, Claro M. Recto, Conchita Huerta, etc.). I’ll search him up in the internet to know more about him.




  4. Pingback: León Mª Guerrero, lion scientist « FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES

  5. Lorenzo Ma. Guerrero III

    Lorenzo Guerrero also designed the Ermita Church which was destroyed during the liberation of Manila. The new Ermita Church is smaller and less elegant. He also designed part of San Sebastian Church altar, the confessional, and other parts found in the Church.


  6. Lorenzo Ma. Guerrero III

    Thank you for this article on my great-grandfather. It is a pity that most of his paintings were lost during the destruction of Manila during the liberation and ended up in the flames that engulfed the Ermita. A few exist in private collections and a handful in museums. He wasn’t as lucky as Juan Luna and Hidalgo whose paintings were mostly abroad and thus survived the horror of the liberation and the many floods and fires that overtook Manila and continue to beset her in the past years. Lorenzo Guerrero was also a writer amongst many other things.



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