With the invention of printing the art of engraving rapidly established itself, with such artists as Francisco Herrera and Juan Correa de Castro. The mid-years of the 19th century saw the foundation of an Academy of Painting. During this period the favourite themes were the miniature and the portrait (Antonio Malantic and Justiniano Asuncion), landscapes (Lorenzo Guerrero, Simon Flores, Telesforo Socgangs and Felipe Santos) and genre painting (Bonifacio Arevalo, Isabelo Tampincco, M. Nepomuceno and R. Marinez). Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, while studying in Spain, both obtained prizes at the National Exhibition in Madrid with their romantic and impressionist style.
In the last half of the 19th century, Filipino painters showed enough maturity of concept and technique to merit critical acclaim. Damian Domingo got recognition as Father of Filipino Painting. Juan Luna’s Spolarium won the first Gold Medal at Exposicion Nacionall de Bellas Artes in 1884. This monumental painting shows fallen gladiators being dragged to an unseen pile of corpses in a chamber beneath the Roman arena.
Fabian de la Rosa, Jorge Pineda and Fernando Amorsolo dominated the period of American control with their genre paintings (scenes of farming life) and landscapes. Their successors (Galo Ocampo, Carlos Francisco) denounced their academism and sought new, more abstract, forms. The neo-realist painters of the post-war period (Hernando R. Ocampo, Vicente Manansala, Romeo Tabuena, Cesar Legazpi, Victor Oteyza and Ramon Estrella) and the l960s (Lee Aguinaldo, Jose T. Joya) were much influenced by international modernist trends.
The abstract expressionism of the 20th century established itself with the work of Jose Joya and Manansala, and then became figurative with Jaime de Guzman and surrealist with Norman Montiñas and Roy Rodriguez. Genre scenes also played a part in the search for an identity (Malang Santos, Miguel Zaragosa, Manuel Rodriguez, Ang-KiuKok, Hugo Yonzon). Social realism characterises the work of painters like Nestor Vinluan, Mars Galang and Bienvenido Cabrera. Conceptual art is also brilliantly represented by three artists – Roberto Chabet, Alan Rivera and Ileana Lee who are engaged in constant experiment and the quest of new possibilities.