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Bust-length painting of a man in a dark suit with his head turned toward the right.

Apolinario Mabini (1864–1903)

A lawyer and strategist, Apolinario Mabini was crucial in the legal and constitutional framing
of Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government. Mabini had first allied with José Rizal, whose La Liga Filipina (Filipino league) promoted gradual reform and non-violence. However, by 1897, Mabini came to support the Philippine Revolution, and in 1898, he became one of Aguinaldo’s closest advisors. 

Mabini believed that only a strong, centralized national government backed by a robust army could secure independence, and he refused to negotiate with the United States. Although he died in the cholera epidemic of 1903, Mabini was commemorated as a leader of Filipino nationalism, and his funeral was one of the largest Filipinos had ever seen. 

This posthumous portrait, by Fabián de la Rosa y Cueto, was most likely made to create a pantheon of Filipino nationalists during the first years of the U.S. colonial era. Portraiture served as a tool in this effort.

Fabian de la Rosa y Cueto (1869–1937)
Oil on canvas
Frame: 86 × 74.5 cm (33 7/8 × 29 5/16 in.)
National Library of the Philippines