Jose Rizal was a sculptor, too

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2011 12:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 07 2011 09:53 AM

Jose Rizal carved a small statue of the Sacred Heart out of wood when he was a student at the Ateneo. Photo courtesy of Ateneo de Manila University

MANILA, Philippines - Jose Rizal, the country's national hero, seems to have succeeded at anything he put his mind to -- from performing eye surgery and designing houses to writing poems and novels.

On top of all these, he was able to make pretty good sculptures, even at a young age.

Here's proof: a beautiful 9-inch statuette of the Sacred Heart, which Rizal carved out of batikuling wood using a penknife when he was 14 years old.

It is currently with the Ateneo de Manila University, where the national hero studied.

"The statuette stayed in the Ateneo until December 1896 when the Jesuit fathers visited Rizal in Fort Santiago. There, the statuette kept Rizal company until he was led to his execution. It is said that before leaving his cell on December 30, he gave the statuette one last kiss. After which he handed it to the Jesuits who accompanied him on his last day," Ateneo said in a statement.

The Sacred Heart statuette is one of the items featured in the "Rizal in the Ateneo/The Ateneo in Rizal" exhibit which was opened by the university on June 17.

The exhibit, part of Ateneo's commemoration of the national hero's 150th birth anniversary, will run until December 2011 at the Rizal Library.

Other items that can be found in the exhibit are Rizal's alcohol burner and book, and Josephine Bracken's slippers, among others. Bracken is the last woman in the national hero's life.

The slippers of Josephine Bracken, Rizal's last love. Photo courtesy of the Ateneo de Manila University

Aside from wood, Rizal has also made over 40 sculptures out of clay, terra-cotta, wax, and plaster, according to joserizal.ph, a website maintained by the Jose Rizal University in Mandaluyong City.

His sculptures portray different subjects, from a gay Franciscan friar to a wild boar.

For more information about "Rizal in the Ateneo/The Ateneo in Rizal" exhibit, contact Yael Buencamino at (632) 426-6001 local 4160 or visit www.ateneo.edu.