Luna y Novicio is a painter who was born on October 23,
1857 in Badoc, llocos Norte. His father was Joaquin Luna
de San Pedro y Posada while his mother was Laureana
Novicio y Ancheta. Juan had three brothers: Manuel, a
violin virtuoso; Jose, a doctor; Joaquin, a governor,
congressman and senator; and Antonio, writer and
general, of the Philippine Revolutionary Army. Juan
married Paz Pardo de Tavera y Gorricho.
Juan finished high school at Ateneo de Manila and at
Escuela Nautica where at age 17 he received the Pilot of
The High Seas Third Class certificate. He also took
landscape painting at the Academia de Dibujo y Pintura.
Juan painted Barrio Al Lado Del Rio (Village by the
River) and Vista Un Barrio Con Kapok (Barrio Scene with
Kapok Trees) in 1877. He studied at Real Academia de
Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid where he was an
outstanding student. He signed up as an apprentice of
Alejo Vera, a professor of the same school.
He completed the miniature of his Autoretrato A Edad 22
(Self Portrait at 22) made of charcoal and Dafnis y
Chloe (Daphne and Chloe). He was awarded a silver
palette from Centra Artistico Literario de Manila in the
He finished some of his masterpieces while in Rome in
1884. Among them were La Bella Feliz y LaEsclava Ciega
(The Happy Beauty and the Blind Slave) and La Muerte de
Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra) which won a silver
medal in the Madrid Art Exposition of 1381.
It was 1884 when his Spoliarium won the gold medal in
the Madrid Art Exposition. Dr. Jose Rizal considered
Spoliarium an exact illustration of how the Spaniards
abused the Filipinos.
In 1885, he painted El Pacto de Sangre (Blood Compact)
and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. In 1886, his Damas Romanes
(Roman Ladies) received recognition at the Munich Salon.
Mestizo en su Tucador (Mestizo Lady at Her Dresser) also
won the same recognition in Exposicion General de las
Filipinas in 1887.
In November 1887, Queen Regent Maria Cristina unveiled
the paintings of Luna and Pradilla at the Madrid Senate.
Later, in 1892 Juan painted Peuple at Rois (People and
Kings), which he would enter at the Chicago Universal
Juan came back to the Philippines in May of 1894 with
his brother Antonio.
The Spanish constabulary arrested the brothers Juan and
Antonio. They accused them of conspiring with the
Katipuneros. They were jailed at Fort Santiago but only
he was released.
He returned to Spain to work on Antonio's freedom. He
was still in Spain when he learned that the Spaniards
were no longer in control of the Philippines.
With the setting up of the Republic of the Philippines,
he was appointed diplomatic agent in the Hongkong Junta.
He became part of the Philippine diplomatic missions in
Paris and United States. He was coming back home when
Juan contracted a disease and die in Hong Kong on
December 7, 1899.