Spoliarium Painting by Juan Luna



An oil painting on poplar, the Spoliarium was painted by Juan Luna in Rome in 1884, winning the second prize at the Madrid Academy Exhibition of Oil Paintings. The Municipality of Barcelona purchased this chef dʼoeuvre for the City Hall.  It is arguably the most internationally renowned piece of modern Filipino art. Today, it can be viewed in the main gallery located on the ground floor of the National Museum of the Philippines.


Spoliarium painting by Filipino artist Juan Luna


The Spoliarium is very large, measuring four meters in height and seven meters in width. The painting depicts the bodies of dead gladiators  being dragged from a Roman arena. On the left side are spectators, while on the far right is a woman with her back turned to the scene, her back partially uncovered. The painting's title is often misspelled as Spolarium.

In ancient Rome, the word spoliarium referred to the Coliseum's morgue.