Kings of the Field


At the birth of Christ, it is said that a rooster crowed Chistus Natus Est to herald the salvation of Man. And when the wise men came bearing gifts to the newborn Christ, they came mounted on strong, beautiful steeds. From then on, the two animals have come to symbolize courage, strength, faith, and nobility in the Western tradition. Equestrian works – whether in painting and sculpture – have long been a favored subject by countless of artists. The Horses of Saint Mark’s in Venice, for instance, were so well-regarded that Venetian soldiers of the Fourth Crusade stole them from their original place at the Hippodrome of Constantinople in the 13th century. Equestrian portraits were ranked highly in the hierarchy of genres, and are perhaps most famously typified by French artist Rosa Bonheur’s “The Horse Fair.” Roosters in art, on the other hand, have had more symbolic meanings. The Gallic Rooster as a symbol for France, for instance, was a favorite subject in the sketches and drawings of Eugene Delacroix. And the renowned Modernist Pablo Picasso explored the magnificence of the subject in his famous 1938 work “A Rooster.”

California-based Filipino artist Salvador Arellano has surveyed the nobility of gamefowl and equine themes in an internationally celebrated practice. His equestrian paintings are world famous, and he counts among his collectors prominent Triple Crown Winner thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert, Willie Shoemaker, D. Wayne Lukas, and Hollywood celebrity Sylvester Stallone. Indeed, the largest collection of Arellano paintings abroad belong to Dr. Madison Richardson, the California Governor of the US Polo Association. Arellano has done polo paintings for the Sultan of Brunei, and a commission by Dr. Armand Hammer was given as a special gift to Britain’s Prince Charles. The artist has also accomplished a commissioned portrait of the former Prime Minister of England, Dame Margaret Thatcher. Aside from the US and the Philippines, Arellano has exhibited extensively in Japan, Singapore, and Australia. He was also a three-time Sole Judge in the Watercolor Category of the bi-annual art competition sponsored by the city government of Beverly Hills in California.

The son of National Artist Juan Arellano, Salvador Arellano has built an art practice worthy of his family’s artistic heritage. “He challenges himself, always seeking to rise to the level of the subject at hand, while also looking back at the experiential process that informed his superb familiarity with horses and roosters,” wrote writer Krip Yuson of Arellano. “It is not technique alone that distinguishes Salvador Arellano’s art, but a grand stratagem, replete with gambits and derring-do – that involves a supreme dalliance with all the myriad memories of prized birds strutting or perching in situ, or a thoroughbred trotting in prideful, amazing grace.”

In a rare event, on the occasion of the Year of the Rooster, Salvador Arellano will be exhibiting his art works in a very special exhibition entitled “Kings of the Field: Gamefowl and Equine Art by Salvador Arellano.” On display from June 30-July 9, with an Artist Reception on July 4, 6:30 p.m. at the lobby of the 8 Rockwell Building in Makati’s Rockwell Center, the exhibition is an eloquent tribute to these noble subjects.

“Kings of the Field: Gamefowl and Equine Art by Salvador Arellano” is organized by Galerie Joaquin. For more information, please call (632) 723-9418, or email