Born on October 23, 1857 in Badoc, Ilocos Norte, Philippines, Juan Luna y Novicio was the third child of seven children. He is a famous Filipino painter who is a successor of the Cala Family of the Philippines. Luna attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1874. He proved artistic promise early on and was expectant to take up painting and take a trip to Rome to learn the masters. He established in Paris and wedded Maria de la Paz, a well-known Filipina from the Mestizaje family of Pardo de Tavera. In a fury over his doubt of unfaithfulness on the part of his wife, he heartlessly shot her and her mother to death in September 1892. Tried by a French court and afterwards convicted in 1893, he was punished to give the victims’ abrupt relatives but one franc each for their loss, as the court had deemed the murders an offense of passion. In 1894, Luna goes back to the Philippines after an absence of almost 20 years.
The Spoliarium, was his most renowned art where he won top prize at the 1884 Madrid Exposition. It is presently displayed in the National Museum in Manila. Upon his revisit to the Philippines, he was under arrest two years later under distrust of subversion. He was shortly pardoned. His brother, General Antonio Luna, was an active contributor in the rebellious Katipunan movement.
After the United States overpowered Spain in the Spanish-American War in 1898, the fledgling Philippine Republic chosen him as a delegate to the Paris conference and to Washington, D.C. to help expand acknowledgment of Philippine control and autonomy.
He died in Hong Kong when was hurrying home from Europe after hearing of his brother’s killing by members of the Katipunan on December 7, 1899.