In 1936, Ochoa lived through two major events. This was the year in which he won the Top Prize at the Venice Biennale, cementing his reputation as an artist and his international prestige. However, he would also go through an event that would have a great impact on him as the painter from El Puerto. The Civil War took Enrique Ochoa by surprise in Mallorca. The fighting brought back to him the pain of the war he had gone through thirty-nine years earlier with his family in Manila (The Philippines).
Ochoa decided in consequence to leave for Paris, where he would live – except for the occasional journey to Italy – for the duration of the conflict.
Ochoa painted the first images of the Civil War in a heart-rending and pitiless trilogy depicting its effects and consequences. Another of his most emblematic works “The Defence of the Sanctuary of Santa María” also stands as a scene from the Civil War. An episode that retains a certain similarity to the situation undergone by the “Last of the Philippines” during the confrontations between the North American troops and the Tagalogs on the same date, the 1st of May. His huge canvas, now residing in the Headquarters of the Guardia Civil, came to be exhibited in the Galeria Pesaro in Milan, in 1938.