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- Cid Reyes

To paraphrase a famous advertising campaign: “What Makes a Master Most?”


Indeed, the subject of what makes an artist ascend to the honorific “Master” – “Il Maestro” – can be contentious, triggering a host of questions: Must the honor be granted by the state – as in “National Artist”? Is popular acclaim a requisite?


Or is the title due to the high estimation of peers and collectors – thus, the media-popular term “an artist’s artist”? Was Van Gogh already a master even when he was totally unrecognized by the artistic powers-that-be?


For that matter, could there be masters in our country still working in seclusion and total anonymity? Is “Master-hood” age-bound? Was the sculptor Napoleon not Abueva proclaimed National Artist at the relatively young age of 46?


One thing sure: the list of Masters recognized by the current show is not exclusive of others, whose works were, for certain reasons, not available.


Too, mastery of one’s art and craft is visible not only in the noble oils on canvases, but in the humbler medium of works on paper: in pencil, charcoal, or watercolor.


In all these, the Master’s hand is visibly at work – totally in command, the medium surrendering itself to the assured aesthetic intelligence guiding it to destinations unknown – surprising medium, audience, and often – the master himself! Suffice it to say that Galerya Amalia humbly invites and enjoins the audience to enjoy, admire, appreciate – savor! – this proud harvest of Filipino masterworks.


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