Augustinian Cantoral

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Agustinian Cantoral (translated: Augustinian Book of Songs) is considered to be the work of Fray Marcelo de San Agustin. This artifact has three illuminations made in oil on tempera - the Christ Child, the Holy Family and the Agony in the Garden. The paintings are found in the pages of a choir book.[1] It is part of the San Agustin Church Museum Complex Collection.


The "Agony in the Garden" is illuminated from letter E , that shows Christ in backward kneeling position as if alarmed by the angel that appears above him, when he was meditating in the Garden of Gethsemane. It shows the practice of praying with up-raised hands in the early church. [1]

The "Holy Family" depicts emphatic manner where San Jose's right hand is placed on his chest who adorns Jesus Christ that is illuminated from the I .

A "Christ Child" picture inside the round O shows the early Filipino painter's creativity and reverence to God.

Artist’s background

Fray Marcelo was known as Marcelo Banal before he joined the Order of St. Augustine. He was adept at music and was said to have devoted his time to composing motets and making choir books.[2]

History of the illuminations

Art historian Santiago A. Pilar has dated the Augustinian Cantoral  to around 1659-1697.[2] The cantoral is exhibited at the San Agustin Museum covered in protective plastic.  


  1. 1.0 1.1 Pilar, S.A. "Altar." In CCP Enclyclopedia of Philippine Art, 1st ed., Vol. 4, 222-223. Philippines: CCP Publications Office, 1994.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ocampo, Ambeth. Early Philippine Music., 2011. Accessed on 3 May 2021.



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