Two famous Filipino painters are Juan Luna and Fernando Amorsolo. Both painters are dead but during their lives, they were highly successful and celebrated. In recognition of his skillful depiction of dead and discarded gladiators in ancient Rome — a painting entitled "Spoliarium" — Juan Luna was awarded the gold medal at the 1884 salon exhibit of Madrid when he was just 26.
The weighty themes and grand execution of this painting were characteristic of Luna's early career as an artist. "Spoliarium," which is housed in the Philippines National Museum, is viewed as one of the country's most important works of art.
This first period of Luna's career is referred to as the Rome/Madrid period, after which he embarked on his Parisian period. This was characterized by a comparatively much lighter palette and mood. The Parisian period was also Luna's last. He died young in February 1893.
Fernando Amorsolo's work was more rooted in Filipino culture than Luna's. Many of his works depict traditionally-dressed peasant farmers. Although Amorsolo traveled to Europe and the United States, he returned to the Philippines to document its colonial culture. His paintings have been commercially as well as critically well-received, featuring in magazines, postcards and newspapers. For a large part of his career, Amorsolo earned a living making slightly altered copies of his works on commission.