Three men fascinate me. Jose Rizal. Ernest Hemingway. Juan Luna. I suspect it is the wild side and mystery about each of these men that attracted me to them. 😉Like you admire them one second. And wish to mother them the next sec.







Back home, Juan Luna’s “Spoliarium” in the National Art Gallery is the highlight of any afternoon spent at the Museum. I’m glad this masterpiece was given ample space to view the obra maestro in all its glory. When my family went on a trip to Ilocos, a visit to the Luna Shrine was most definitely the highlight of that family holiday. When I heard there would be a lecture on Luna and his Art at the GSIS Museum, I thought it was a good idea to combine the lecture with a viewing of Parisien Life, that most controversial GSIS acquisition. When I learned Luna’s “Battle of Lepanto” hangs in the Senate Hall in Madrid, I knew I couldn’t leave Madrid without viewing it!




I sent an email to the Madrid Senado’s website if I may be allowed entry. 🇪🇸 There was an exchange of emails between me and Mercedes who was most kind and accommodating. We fixed a date and time, then she put me in a group of visiting Spanish ladies and apologized that the “tour” would be in Spanish. Bueno!





Of course, no photographs were allowed. We were ushered inside a hall with 4 murals of Spanish painters. One 1859 mural almost tempted me to cheat on Mercedes and take a photo with my iPhone. “La Coronacion de D. Manuel Quintana” (who is he?) by Luis Lopez Piqueo, huge at 428 x 561, is slightly bigger than Juan Luna’s Battle of Lepanto (350 x 550) which hangs on one wall along a narrow corridor. Mercedes was kind enough to open the meeting room across Luna’s mural just so I can have a good view of what I came for. She spoke lengthily about Juan Luna and why I’m so interested in seeing it. Unfortunately, she spoke in Spanish while all the distinguished-looking Doña Victorinas were eyeing me with new interest. 😊







Having seen what I came for, Mercedes invited me to stay on to visit the Senate Hall itself where she said I can take photographs. It looked more like a theatre! Then, we were led to the Library which was really, really awesome. There was this man reading old periodicals while we ladies roamed about with oohs and aaahs (a universal language, I soon learned). The lighting was bad if you ask me, but there were reading lamps. I sneaked a photo of the very Spanish-looking gentleman inside the library just as we were led out to visit another hall in the Senado. This time, it’s a more modern hall. On the way out, there were again paintings of contemporary Spanish painters. I saw one of Joan Mìro. And I dare not cheat on Mercedes again as she reminded everyone that photography is not allowed in these areas. Which is fine — I’m happy with my snapshot of the Spanish Señor inside the Library. 😉







As I thanked Mercedes for a lovely one hour tour of the Senado, she handed me books as souvenirs. Now, isn’t that muy bien? Ha sido un placer en Madrid Sendo. Muchas gracias, Mercedes!