José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Realonda,widely known as José Rizal (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse riˈsal]; June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896), was a Filipino nationalist and polymath during the tail end of the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal became a writer and a key member of the Filipino Propaganda Movement which advocated political reforms for the colony under Spain.
He once demonstrated his talent for painting while in Dapitan. In 1894, Fr. Vicente Balaguer thought of a backdrop for the Holy Week. He wanted one that’s done in canvas oil painting. He heard of Rizal’s painting ability and requested him to paint a beautiful backdrop for the church altar that would show a colonnaded court, seen from a wide open gate like that of a scene depicting the court of Pontius Pilate. Fr. Balaguer sketched his idea based from a church in Barcelona, Spain and after Rizal showed him his sketch, Rizal with the help of Sister Agustina Montoya, a Filipina nun from Cavite who could paint, and Francisco Almirol, a native painter of Dapitan started the difficult task of painting the scene in oil.