Entry 108

Sculpture 13: Scientia or The  Triumph of Science over Death

In 1890, Jose Rizal sent two statuettes to his friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian scholar. These hand-crafted sculptures were made of clay. One of the statuettes was Scientia or The Triumph of Science over Death.

It is figure is of a nude, young woman holding a torch with both stretched hands. At her feet is a large skull from which she stands. Her long hair covers her lower privates.

The clay statuette is now in Fort Santiago in Intramuros. However, a monumental copy made of concrete guards the Calderón Hall (College of Medicine) in the University of the Philippines Manila. I am not familiar of its artist but it has nuances from the original statuette. For one, the countenance is not identical, however all the elements and symbols are present.

Below is a composite of images of the sculpture.

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Entry 075

Sculpture 03: Magdangal

Towering at UP Diliman’s College of Arts and Letters ground is a figure of a naked woman, perhaps the artistic embodiment of the arts—that of a Muse. Inscribed in her pedestal is this (diacritics are mine):

“MAGDANGÁL”

Magbángon ka, aking Mutyâ,
Mula dágat ng dálitâ;
Pairálin mo sa lupà
Ang tárong, ragsák, at layà.

This text is by Virgilio Almario, former dean of the college and a National Artist for Literature. The sculpture is characteristically a Napoleon Abueva, National Artist for Sculpture.

My unwarranted translation of the text is this:

Arise, my Muse,
From the sea of misery;
Diffuse throughout the land
Righteousness, bliss, and liberty.

“Magdangal” facing a distance yonder.

Close up of her face

Close up of her face

At whatever angle you look at her, she seems to gaze at something unknown.

At whatever angle you look at her, she seems to gaze at something unknown.