I was your cure,
The Victorian-style painting, Portait of a Lady, by Juan Luna is a visual marvel. You may have just passed by it in one of your National Museum for Fine Arts tours, but a dark, mysterious story lies behind its charming appeal.
It was Trinidad who convinced her that Juan would be an awesome husband for his sister. Juan was 29 when he married the 21-year-old Paz in 1886.
The honeymoon was blissful. They toured Rome and Venice and, the year after, they were already blessed with their first child, Andres.
Just like any new couple, Juan and Paz struggled with their new baby and even more so when Paz had a miscarriage. They then moved to Rue Pergolese, still in Paris, but, this time, Doña Juliana lived with them.
You know what they say about familiarity which breeds contempt, this was what happened to the family. Paz's mother practically financed the family even including Antonio Luna's studies (who was their guest at the time).
Their situation was a ticking time bomb for no man would want to be burdened with the idea that he is being supported by a woman (and an in-law for that matter). And we all know how temperamental the Luna brothers were, so, their situation inevitably worsened.
As if their situation wasn't already causing enough tension, the couple even lost their second child, Bibi. This drove Paz to take a vacation to Mont Dore. Since she left with Andres (nicknamed Luling), Juan was left to himself. He focused all his energies on Peuple et Rois (People and Kings) yet another huge project.
It wasn't after two months when Paz finally returned but Juan had been suspecting that she had an affair with someone whom she met while on vacation.
Paz never confessed to infidelity even after Juan pointed a gun at her. What she admitted, though, was that she was no longer in love with him.
Juan's violence heightened which led to Paz's consideration of a divorce. Pretty soon, Juan was convinced that the Pardo de Taveras were actually planning to take his wife and son from him. This suspicion grew to paranoia and on September 23, 1892, the tension peaked.
Paz, Luling, and Doña Juliana were inside the bedroom on the second floor when Juan kept banging at the door during that day. Refusing to open the door, Juan became even angrier which led to the shooting.
He shot both his mother-in-law and his wife in the head, with the former dying immediately. Paz died a few days after the shooting.
Let's stop the story there. 'Sorry if I had to post it, it's not a love story as I already mentioned but is actually a tragedy. Oh, and that painting, Portrait of a Lady, try comparing it to the model who posed for The Parisian Life and Mi Novia (My Girlfriend) and you'd have an epiphany.
Was Mademoiselle Angela Duche, actually Luna's lover? No records would prove so but Luna described this model, in one of his notebooks, as “supremely distinguished looking, pinkish white skin, body and shape of beautiful proportions, model No. 1.”
Sans the cursed painting story, the overall lesson here is clear. Juan Luna fell in love, life happened to him, and his emotions got the better of him. All who love do take the risk of being hurt but Juan and Paz's story is the epitome of tragedy, one that couples wouldn't want as their eventuality.
'Wishin' you all a Happy Hearts' Day in advance.
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.