Painting ‘The Black Nazarene of Quiapo’ as Portrays of Filipino Culture

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The black Nazarene of Quiapo is a great painting portrays Filipino culture and one of the religious feast in the Philippines. Based on the title “The Black Nazarene of Quiapo” In the painting, we can see plenty of people gathering around. A statue black Nazarene carrying a cross kneeling wearing a red dress, while it is being carried by a group of men wearing a white sleeveless shirt. Some of them are like in a forceful push because of their dynamic position (like the man at the lower left of the painting), some of them are helping each other to stand up. Some of the men are trying reach the black Nazarene. Behind the black Nazarene and the group of men as well, there are group of people holding a candle while their head are bowed. We can also see in the painting man standing in the seat of church raising his right hand while his left hand was on horizontal position.

There is also a man holding a long stick with a violet fabric on top or it is a flag that is related to the procession. We can conclude that they are either sacristan or a person who serves in church because of their dress. They are both wearing long dress and sleeves but in different color. The one standing on the seats is wearing black while the one who is holding a long stick is wearing brown. It is based on their role in church. There is a two woman on the lower right of the painting wearing a veil and a traditional dress and a three women wearing same dress but in different colors near to the people in the middle of the painting. There is also a man in the lower middle part of the painting wearing a pants with brown belt and sleeveless shirt with yellow scarf around his neck. His face and his eyes is directed to the upper right while both of his hand are holding the arm of two child. On his left hand a child wearing yellow shirt looking at him while on his right hand he is holding a child in blue shirt looking at him as well.

Definitely the procession is just starting. When you look at the painting the environment are bright and the direction of black Nazarene and the people are about to leave the church to start the procession. If we observe the painting, everyone is busy and has their own role in the painting.

The faces of every people in the painting are look like they are in pain, difficulty most especially the men who is carrying the black Nazarene because of its heaviness due to size of statue, plus, the crowded place might be the one of the reason why they are having difficulty or pain. The people on the right side who are holding the candle are bowed and somehow relaxed because they are praying. There is a person wearing green in front holding his or her candle with her two hands but you can hold a candle in one hand. So we can conclude that they are praying while in the procession. The church servant who is wearing black was like inviting the people to go near to the black Nazarene or participate to the procession because of his hand gestures and his face his calm not compare to the group of men carrying the statue. Same face as one of the church servant who holds the flag. Based on the face of the man who is holding a two child, are observing in the place and the two child are looking at him.

The setting happened inside the Quiapo church based on its title “The black Nazarene of Quiapo” and the detail of the painting also supports the idea that the setting is at Quiapo church because of the mosaic window the usual design in portraying church. This scenario is the usual scenario every 9th of January The feast of the black Nazarene. Coming up with the idea that this is a feast because of people in Quiapo behaves very aggressive and huge number of people gathered around the church to see the black Nazarene every 9th of January. Same attitude as what the painting portrays.

The subject that closer to me are the man who are holding two child using both of his hands, the two lady wearing veil and the two church servant. They are close because the painting wants to show the situation of every devotees far from their intention to the situation. If we look it into real life situation of the procession, the crowd are busy just to get closer to the black Nazarene, but we do not see that there is also people who has in different situation. Like what man with two child situation in the painting, based on the man’s face, the visual lines are directed opposite from the direction of the black Nazarene in the painting, his facial expression was like confused or they do not know where to go. While the two lady near to the viewer are staring at the black Nazarene while praying (Based on their hands holding together) and they are in static position like they are not planning to go near at the black Nazarene.

The colors of painting used is pastel or light colors. All colors that are in the painting was in a very light shade. The painting has a high brightness and low saturation. The choice of color were good because even the painting has a loud color such as: red (the dress of black Nazarene), violet (Flag) and brown (the wall of church) all colors became equal because of using light colors. Using light colors in the painting is one of the effective ways to show the viewers or audience that the scene happened at morning. The colors used are the expected colors when we look at the real life situation. The painting is crowded on the lower part because: 1. it is intention that every procession like this is really visited and participated by the people with strong belief in their religion which is Catholic. 2. It is the colors used that makes the painting crowded. The usage of same color as a group who lift the statue and variety of colors to every individual.

The most important of this part of the painting is the statue black Nazarene and the people who lift the statue because it is the focus of the procession and depicts the real-life situation. Seeing the men lifting the statue in a dynamic position makes us see the hardship of every devotee in this kind of feast. They are willing to be in pain and in difficult situation just to serve to their practice as Catholic.

If this painting could make a sound, it would be loud and noisy painting due to its being crowded and to the people’s dynamic position like pushing. Even though it is just a painting, when someone asked you if you can put sound on it what sound would it be. This will automatic gives you the idea that the sound would be not peaceful as what you expect on a religious practices.

What good about this painting is that, how Filipinos can be so devoted and very much willing to serve to their God. It is good that all side of scenario or point of view of every devotee that there are aggressive, calmly praying and lost people (like the man in front) was shown to this painting. But when there is a good side, there is also a not-so-good about the painting which is there are people behind holding a candle. If you think that you are the one holding a candle in the middle of massive number of people and panicking you will be in danger or it might burn you. Another thing is that, there are space in front which is not the usual space when it is feast of the black Nazarene. But, considering the date when the painting was done can give us the idea that the procession back then can be wide place as painting shown.

It is good that this painting is one of the exhibit in National Museum to show to the public such as Filipinos and foreigners who visited the museum that we have this kind of tradition as one of the practices in a religion. That Catholics are willing to do everything just to get closer to the prominent statue they have. The spirit of believing in something because it heals people is alive even way back then.

Cite this paper

Painting ‘The Black Nazarene of Quiapo’ as Portrays of Filipino Culture. (2020, Nov 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/painting-the-black-nazarene-of-quiapo-as-portrays-of-filipino-culture/



What is the art of the Philippines?
The art of the Philippines is a diverse and vibrant mixture of indigenous, colonial, and contemporary influences. It encompasses various forms such as pottery, weaving, sculpture, painting, and performance art.
Who paint the Black Nazarene of Quiapo?
The Black Nazarene of Quiapo is a painting by an unknown artist. It is a religious painting of Jesus Christ.
Why do Filipino celebrate Black Nazarene?
The Black Nazarene is a life-sized, dark wooden statue of Jesus Christ that is believed to have miraculous powers. It is paraded through the streets of Manila every year on January 9, and the event attracts millions of Filipino Catholics.
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