Yikes! Pope Francis with Filipino celebrities in commemorative painting!

Ok, just when the whole brouhaha over the grandiose wedding of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes is simmering down, I came across this supposedly recently-completed painting by Dante Hipolito…


Apparently Hipolito is known in art circles as a “hyper-realist” and his favorite subject involves depictions of scenes of traditional Filipino rural life. Well, the scenes in this one may be consistent with his style, but, dang, what the hell, man?

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What’s up with the celebrities??

The image of the painting was posted on the Facebook page of starlet Marian Rivera along with the following caption…

Pope Francis and several Filipino celebrities are featured in the painting ‘Salubong’ by Dante Hipolito

Inspiration begets inspiration. This motivated visual artist Dante Hipolito to paint Gov. Vilma with Pope Francis in the 29” x 24” oil on canvas titled Salubong. A distinct style of vibrant rural realism, it follows Pope Francis’ didactic intentions.

Dante did this by redefining art, what he terms as Composite Realism, which is the smooth interplay of filmmaking elements of production design, photography and digital art based on his experience in stage production and advertising. Thus, he creates a distinctively exuberant depictions of country life on their basic principles.

In an ambiance of rural peace and prosperity, Dante shows Gov. Vilma as a farmer leading stars (from left) Gary Valenciano, Sen. Grace Poe, Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Coco Martin and Kris Aquino who are also costumed as country people in the festive welcome.

I don’t get it. What exactly is the point the artist wants to bring across with this painting? Didn’t the Pope make it clear that his visit to the Philippines was all about the poor and, specially, the victims of Typhoon Haiyan?

Or maybe I’m missing something. Could this be some kind of satire piece? Hey, I’m Pinoy. Pinoys don’t get satire remember? Could this be some kind of joke? Maybe someone photoshopped these faces into what could otherwise be a legit and more sober work of art?

Seriously, first an “outrageously extravagant” wedding circus and now this. It’s either certain people are allowing all this royal treatment to get into their heads, or artists like Hipolito are getting waaayyyy ahead of themselves. And are all of these celebs here even Catholic? Gary Valenciano, for example, is also in this picture. He’s a born again Christian, if I recall right. Does Gary V even believe in the pope? And don’t get me started about Kris Aquino…

What is this society coming to? His Holiness ain’t here yet and we are already turning his visit into a spectacle!

52 Replies to “Yikes! Pope Francis with Filipino celebrities in commemorative painting!”

  1. I love the painting.. it shows that, when ever their’s people like the Pope comes in our country, all the “Banal na Aso at Santong Kabayo” goes around him and shows to everyone that they are holy and divine.

    1. You show this canvas to typical religious Noytards and they will be offended and accuse the artist of being ‘bastos’ and walang respeto sa mahal na papa.

        1. Facebook? Do I know you? Malabo mga sentence mo dudong. Pakilinaw ang tagalog mo o baka hindi ka nakatungtong ng grade 5 kaya hirap ka magsalita.

  2. i think this photo is depicting that the pope shares the same light with the celebrities, and not in the good light. If he named himself pope francis because he loves the poor, then this painting depicts the celebrities as poor. So with all thats been written, it seems that the good intentions were meant for the wrong people. As if his intentions are truly holy. Those are my 50 cents

  3. this shows how the filipino catholics (sometimes other nationalities will do it too) will sometimes do their own thing irregardless of what the higher ups in the church will say
    another example in the philippines is when they changed the route of the black nazarene procession and the people still tried to force it to the usual route over a bridge which was deemed possible too weak to hold the multitude.
    An example in venezuela. The people there are really fond of eating a local aquatic mammal (a rodent) called the capybara. So much that they persuaded the church to declare the capybara a fish (it is aquatic) so they could eat it during Lent
    If the pope ever forbade the black nazarene procession I’m pretty sure a lot of people would revolt

  4. I laughed seeing this and I’d like to think that the artist is sarcastic and just showing how fucked up our country’s celebrity worship habits. No deep interpretations necessary, Mr. Hipolito was just heckling the Filipinos on their bad habits of PBA idolatry: pulitika, basketbol, artista.

  5. Probably sarcastic, showing how foolish it is to shoehorn our celebrities into being with a more respectable figure. If not sarcastic… it is shoehorning.

  6. If we follow what the gist of this article was, what happened in Paris, France recently was justified. That people can be killed because of cartoons, pictures, or images drawn with satire, sarcasm or opposite representation of people.

    That we can interpret an innocent picture or image as evil if we intend to. That we can deride or mock something as harmless as the picture above and turn it into something gloomy or pessimistic.

    I see the picture as a demonstration of the excellent skill by the artist who made it. Nothing more. I see how he depicts the Pope in another settings that showcase what he really is, the man of the masses. Of course, the celebrity images are not exactly what represents the masses. Their attire was. The celebrity part, I see as the artist’s penchant for famous people. His bias for celebrities. Starstruck as we often read on this blog.

    But all in all, it was a nice painting.

    1. Sometimes great art is in the presentation, sometimes it is in the content. This has the great merit of having both — plus the ambiguity!

      OK, it may not be an auto-include into the canon of “Great Art” (which shows you how skeptical I am of the appellation), but I do love the painting as a many-folding pastiche of ambiguities — it tells me that it pays to be alert to alternatives.

  7. As usual, Pinoys will have knee-jerk reaction towards what seems obvious i.e. sacrilege, blasphemy, heresy et al.

    I think the painting EMPHASIZES that Filipinos often based their “BELIEFS” on PERSONALITIES not on DOCTRINES. Form over Substance. Person over Issue.

    In this case, THE PAINTING IS ON POINT!

  8. Another anti-Roman Catholic bullshit by “forward-thinking” bourgeois bloggers. This is art in the truest Filipino sense as it incorporates elements that are distinctly FIlipino – our Agrarian Nature, our Catholic fashion, our social conservatism, no matter if people here are celebrities or not.

    1. Sure, let it be “art in the truest sense” to the Filipino. The question now is: is this aesthetic?

      And how did you come up with the conclusion that the writer is “anti-Catholic”?

      Besides, I hardly would call a painting with Marian Rivera and Kris Aquino in it as being a part of “social conservatism.”

    2. Butthurt roman catholic. Bourgeois? As if you’re pharisees are not elitist enough. Did you have a chance reading Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo? Or maybe you’re just too lazy to understand what Jose Rizal was trying to imply on what’s happening to our country ran and influenced by religious people.

  9. I just can’t find this in good taste. This is akin to those Commie propaganda paintings of people “working in the fields” only replace your Mao and Lenin with the Pope.

  10. Maybe he wants to become more popular by incorporating these celebs in the painting? Haha well, that’s just an opinion :p

    I have the exact same sentiments as Kate regarding this painting. Ahhh what has happened to our so-called culture? That is to say, if we can still call is as one…

  11. whoever did this should be crucified…..

    these a-holes are trivializing and dumbing-down the meaning of this Papal visit….

    these people have no shame trivializing and dumbing-down the significance of the Papal visit….
    this is no different from that t-shirt stunt by ABS-CBN, attributing words that the Pope will never say….
    instead of picturing Pope Francis with children, the poor, the sick and elderly, people he loves to be with, he is shown here with superficial celebrities, the the very thing that this humble Pontiff shuns…..

      1. Indeed an ISIS. Melchor would crucify people for the sake of his religion where their main leader was crucified by the Romans, the irony.

    1. Hey fucktard, I’ve got news for you: Wishing people to get crucified just because of what they want to express is not something your dear papa would like to hear from a sarado katoliko you shithead. Only lunatics will think that Pope Francis is a special person. Logical people know that every move he makes is just for PR. Roman Catholicism is a dying cult that’s why they want someone to do some advertising for them. Welcome to getrealphilippines, shithead.

  12. these a-holes are trivializing and dumbing-down the meaning of this Papal visit….
    this is no different from that t-shirt stunt by ABS-CBN, attributing words that the Pope will never say…. instead of picturing Pope Francis with children, the poor, the sick and elderly, people he loves to be with, he is shown here with superficial celebrities, the very thing that this humble Pontiff shuns…..
    and besides, Pope Francis’ celebrity stature is so different, and unquestionably more profound, than any one of those in the painting, …. there is just no reason why they should be in an artwork with the Pope, except to pander to the celebrity culture and fan mentality of the masses

  13. I hope Mr. Hipolito will clarify his intentions. If he intented to showcase how Pinoy masses “worship” their celebrities in the same way we idolize the Pope, then this painting reflects reality. But if Mr. Hipolito is simply depicting filipino farm life by using his favorite celebrities, then that’s his personal trip. But he should know that people will react both positively and negatively to this.

  14. For me ? When I will take this painting seriously it might be about 666.
    For catholics, no offense but as I am a christian i always watched many videos about POPES and many people are too blinded. Search more about it because might this celebrities are becoming the alaves of a anti christ.

    Just sharing guys no offense

  15. IMO, this is kind’a symbolic of how universal the Catholic Church is, with Pope Francis, not coming just for the righteous but for the sinners, as well, which the showbiz industry is known for its immorality, pretense, etc. As for the presence of the non-Catholic Christian believers, Gary V. for example, it’s giving us a glimpse of how well-loved and accepted our beloved Pope is by other denominations. For Sen. Grace Poe’s presence & Gov. Vilma Santos, it’s a clear indication of how some politicians can most probably use religion to get to their voters. As to why the showbiz political personalities were used instead of other non-showbiz political figures, well, aside from the fact that they love the publicity, they are already popular, so talking about them won’t make any difference to their political or showbiz career. LOL Now for the ‘royal’ couple, hmmm… most likely it’s the closest they could get to the most humble Pope Francis, whose ‘royal wedding’ he would have scorned or something. 🙂

    I do believe it’s done in good taste, with good intentions. Just look at their happy faces! And it makes the Pope more closest to the heart of the masa…as they most probably know these TV personalities than our beloved Pope Francis. Not saying that he’s not that popular, too. 🙂 But, it gives the Pope a very warm personality…not a rockstar personality but one with a real HUMAN touch. 🙂

  16. Sooo tacky. Nice ARTwork, but not drawn to scale. Look at the size of the carabao relative to the celebrity characters. They look like cut outs.

  17. that is a stupid pretentious painting, I bet none of the faces depicted ever wore clothes or were in a situation they are are being shown in the painting. get real…

  18. If that painting is any indication of what is to come in the 2016 elections, I think the Philippines is going to see another woman as president. Pictures and paintings convey a strong message. If Dante Hipolito was officially designated by the catholic church, then I think Vilma Santos who is shown steering the carriage on the Pope’s right hand side was done for a reason.

    Why Vilma Santos and not a man steering the carriage is anybody’s guess? The Pope, the so called Roman Vicar of Christ, Pontifex Maximus, the modern day Caesar after all is still the unseen hand steering Philippine elections.

  19. This is no different from what street vendors do during People Power—they’re not there primarily to participate in the revolution itself or its advocacy, but to cash in on the opportunity to make a sale or, in this case, appear relevant.

    I dunno whether it was Hipolito himself or somebody else who fancies Hipolito as a “hyper-realist”. This work is just plain “realism” at best, not “hyper-realism” (checkout these images: http://www.boredpanda.com/hyper-realistic-art/).

    Unless Hipolito has a thing for irony, he highlights the very Filipino tendency to forego real meaning and substance, and build on nothing more than the most sentimental but superficial connection between subjects such as the one depicted on this painting (i.e. the Pope and local pinoy celebrities!). The association/juxtaposition may have been done in bad taste.

    Aren’t celebrity worship & true ‘Godly worship’ antithetical toward each other? Doesn’t the Pope stand for the very opposite of who most of these celebrities really are or their misbehaviors and indiscretions behind the scenes? I thought that he’s partial towards the nameless and downtrodden. I don’t think his visit was meant for those suck-ups and opportunists competing for his attention or not-so secretly trying to ride on his popularity.

    While he’s at it, perhaps this painter can follow this painting up with one depicting Jesus, Zeus, Buddha, & Hindu gods and goddesses celebrating Vice Ganda or Kris Aquino FTW!

  20. We have a culture of fanaticism that I have seen plenty and many times over in many fields and I’m not shocked by this. The only gripe I have is why the celebrities? Is it because well..they are well-known people? Whatever happened to the rest of the so-called masses? Oh that’s right..we’re in the background or even worse we could not make the cut because we’re probably too many or we’re just not qualified enough to be in the painting.

    But with all due respect to the art and the artist, I think this was his imagination, his idea and well it’s honestly not bad for a painting. The interpretation is where things go bad. Ironically, since we’ll be having the elections next year..obviously maybe..some of these people may run for a political position. Maybe there’s a degree of subtlety with its message.

    Then again, I don’t mind celebrating with the Pope, but with the people? Well not so much.

  21. See, what I would do is photoshop the Pope’s face out and put Noy’s face instead.

    That’s how I would make it Satire, anyway.

  22. “And don’t get me started about Kris Aquino…”

    Hahaha. What’s with her?
    Some people believe that there’s nothing wrong with the painting. Same goes with my username danielm8===Dkris. It is plainly a combination of characters you can find in your keypad. It’s not what you think it is. LOL

  23. Forget Dante Hipolito, he’s trying his best to be another Blanco but failed miserably. At least Blanco depicted real people on his canvases, his neighbors, relatives, friends, etc. – ordinary people in Angono as subjects for his masterpieces. I don’t know what Hipolito is thinking! For me his excuse regarding his wife’s insistence to use celebrities as subjects is lame. “Hindi niya ba alam” why the Pope visited the Philippines? It’s all over the news, to be with the poor and the underprivileged. On other hand, we should praise the Pope for refusing to accept the gift. It’s really very amiable of him. Not all gifts are worth accepting. We should also try our best to inculcate in ourselves such trait.

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