Brown Madonna

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Brown Madonna is a 1938 painting made with oil on canvas. It is one of the works of Galo B. Ocampo that succeeded in fulfilling Ocampo's aim to create a new Filipino identity by freeing Filipino art from the colonialism of religious imagery.[1]


This painting in oil is on a canvas measuring 62cm x 47 cm.

In Brown Madonna, Ocampo deviates from the traditional colonial iconography which gave a European cast to the holy figures. He represents a Madonna and child as Filipino, with the brown complexion and features that distinguish the Filipino.[1]

In the artwork, the figure representing Mary is in a Baro't Saya, a traditional Filipino costume. The bamboo, the mountains with rice terraces in the background, and the thatched hut just behind the mother and child are other Philippine elements present in this painting.

Artist’s background

Ocampo is one of the pioneers of Philippine modern art along with fellow modernist painters Carlos "Botong" Francisco and Victorio Edades. They were known as “The Triumvirate”.[2]

Brown Madonna was one of the artworks of the time that marked a shift in the Philippine art scene.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, 1st ed., Vol. 4, 229. Philippines: CCP Publications Office, 1994.
  2. Jorge, Rome. Painting Pasyon. The Manila Times, 2005. Accessed on 5 May 2021.
  3. Localization of the Madonna and Child Image in Philippine Modern Art, Public Lecture. University of the Philippines Asian Center, 2015. Accessed on 5 May 2021.



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