A smaller version of Juan Luna’s Spoliarium
has just come to light— quick preliminary
sketch, acquired by commissioner Matías Lopez
and passed down to his heirs, after the Exposition
Universelle where the mural went on view in 1889.
Who could have imagined that this depiction
of two fallen gladiators— bloodied, dragged
from the arena— would become one of the symbols
of the revolution? As for its authenticity,
in one corner, beside the artist’s name,
two additional symbols in baybayin script:
lu na, which in Iloko means moon.