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“The Holy Grail” of Philippine Art Comes Home

After over a century, Juan Luna's long-lost artwork, ‘Hymen, oh Hyménée!’ also known as Boda Romana (Roman Wedding), comes home to the Philippines.

Luna started working on the painting in 1886 and was later completed in 1887 during his honeymoon with Paz Pardo de Tavera in Venice. The painting depicts a scene of a Roman wedding ritual, specifically the bride's entrance into the groom's chamber.

‘Hymen, oh Hyménée!’ won a bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle in 1889 in Paris, France. Since then, there has been no recorded whereabouts of the painting.

Its homecoming is of historical and cultural significance. Since it was painted by Luna, the painting has never been in the Philippines and has not been in the public eye since it was exhibited at the Paris expo, until now.

The masterpiece is now on display at the Ayala Museum as part of the multimedia exhibition titled 'Splendor: Juan Luna, Painter as Hero' in cooperation with Leon Gallery. The exhibit is open for public viewing until Dec. 31.

Photos from Ayala Museum, The Frick Collection / Frick Art Reference Library

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