Everyone in the UPVisayas campus used to call those guys as Plato and Aristotle until my colleague and I discovered the truth. They are actually allegorical statues for Law and Order. This building was originally the Iloilo City Hall.
Which one is Law? Which one is Order? Find out yourself.
These huge, free-standing sculptures made of concrete, together with more sculptures (this time in relief) found above the entrance doors were the works of Francesco Monti, an Italian sculptor who lived in the Philippines from the 1930s until his death in the 1950s.
Wherever Juan Arellano was, Monti was not likely to be far behind. No, they were not life partners, just art partners. (When Arellano did the Provincial Capitol of Negros after Iloilo, he also requested the Italian to sculpt the famous lady with the carabao at the plaza.)
Monti’s developed an art deco approach to his larger-than-life sculptures. Observe his stern-looking men. They look very angular and the folds of their togas have a stylized, streamlined effect. Yet, his training in classical sculpture (he came from a famous family in Cremona, Italy, who specialized in tombstone figures) comes out in the way he sculpted the bemuscled body and the closed fist of Law as well as in the details on the faces of the two.
If you’re interested to know more about Monti, there is an ongoing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum along Roxas Boulevard. Last year, the exhibit was also set-up here at the very building of Monti’s sculptures. Prof. Victoria Herrera, an art historian and museum specialist from UP Diliman is the leader of this humungous project. Being classmates, she asked me to do the research on Monti for Iloilo and Negros. And that’s how we said goodbye to calling dem guys Plato and Aristotle. JRS. 031907.