Bernardian Synthesis No. 1

Constancio Bernardo (1913-2003) studied Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines under the dominant Philippine painter of the first half of the 20th century, Fernando Amorsolo. After completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1948, Bernardo was awarded a Fulbright Travel Grant to Yale University in the United States. It was during his three years in Yale, where he encountered abstract painter Josef Albers, his teacher, who reportedly told Bernardo, “When you return to Manila, you will create an explosion in art.” Bernardian Synthesis No. 1, made in 1978, is a major painting by Constancio Bernardo. It is composed of 5 paintings presented together. There are first the front panels of two paintings, each with intersecting pairs of circles in shades of white. It can be exhibited closed with a lock or can be swung open to reveal the triptych inside. The triptych consists of two side panels flanking a centre panel in between. The side panels consist of a mustard yellow backdrop with three intersecting circles of shades of yellow and pale green. The centre piece likewise has a mustard yellow backdrop with three overlapping circles in shades of yellow. The difference in tonalities brings to mind what the art critic Leonidas Benesa had written: “Bernardo’s feeling that in themselves colors are pure vibrations, just like notes on the musical scale.”

Artist Name
Constancio Bernardo
Image size: 124.0 x 246.0 x 6.0 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
National Gallery Singapore