FOR Catholics, religious images are representations of faith. The religious and devotees of patrons wipe cloth on images with the belief that this brings physical healing. In some communities, a statue of the Blessed Virgin is transferred from one house to another after a week. Miracles have purportedly been witnessed in the presence of holy images.
To see some of the most artistic of these images, a special selling exhibition on the handiworks of the Talleres de Maximo Vicente is on view until May 6 at the 5th floor of Rustan’s Makati.
A master sculptor of religious imagery, Maximo Vicente, Sr. was the most successful commercial saint-maker of the Philippines.
In 1908, he opened Talleres de Maximo Vicente in Quiapo, Manila which has since transferred to Ermita. His commissioned images took three to 12 months to finish. The images of Santo Niño de Praga of San Beda College in Mendiola and San Beda College Alabang; Sta. Luisa in San Marcelino Church in Ermita, Manila; and the statues of the main and side altars of our Lady of Mount Carmel on Broadway Ave in Quezon City are among the works of his taller or workshop.
Of his 11 children, it was Maximo, Jr. and his wife Soledad Hernandez-Vicente who continued the artist’s legacy at the taller.
It was a granddaughter of Maximo, Sr., Regina “Renee” Vicente Francisco, who approached her classmate from Assumption College — Rustan’s chair Zenaida Tantoco — about the sale of the images.
“Their children decided to sell them and my sister offered to do the sale here in Rustan’s,” Marilen Tantoco, Rustan’s vice-president for home merchandising, told BusinessWorld at the official launch on April 22.
The exhibition showcases 92 pieces from the collection of Maximo Vicente, Jr. and his wife. The images include a 98 x 48 inch Our Lady of the Assumption as a centerpiece, a 49 x 22 inch Sto. Niño de Praga, and a 51 x 17 inch Immaculate Heart of Mary. The last image has been with the family for more than 50 years.
According to Ms. Tantoco, the exhibition may transfer to Rustan’s Shangri-la Plaza branch if some images are unsold.
“Well-known si Maximo Vicente, Sr.,” Ms. Tantoco said, about the late saint-maker’s craftsmanship. “But it’s very rare [to own one].” — Michelle Anne P. Soliman