Balinese Art: History And Progression (1900 1960s)

1933 words - 8 pages

The twentieth century was the bloom of art movements in the Western Countries. The art community was gifted with the emergence of important figures and remarkable artworks that benchmarked the turning points in art history. However, in the spring garden of blossoming flowers, the complementing beauty of grass patches are often overlooked. Many failed to notice the art of the less developed country in the world, as these regions did not get as much coverage and chances to take part in the ‘happening’ in the center of art world then. Nevertheless, it does not mean that the artworks of these people were less prominent. On this occasion, I would like to shed a light on Balinese art and its ...view middle of the document...

Thus, tracing back the history of Balinese culture is an inevitable process of unraveling the genuine exquisiteness of Balinese art.
Bali as an island is a snow globe filled with pieces of art of different medium interacting together to create a community. For this reason, Balinese artists are not particularly bound to one identity, but develop variety of media to work with to assist their diversity in conception. Many of Balinese painters were also prominent in sculpting and performance art. This practical interrelationship between arts means that each draws on to the other. Furthermore, Balinese art society does not limit the availability of artistic knowledge to those with intellectual sets of skills. Balinese community is more open, allowing anyone of any class to produce and/or critique artworks. Under those circumstances, the integration of phantasm is more lively and surreal.
Although Balinese people live in the realm of artistic lifestyle, revolutionary changes in the art form were mostly visible in the painting department. For this essay to be more articulate and comprehensive, the medium of painting will be largely utilized as example for analysis and comparison. Consequently, in the study of the artistic progression, different styles of Balinese art (Kamasan, Tabanan, Ubud, Batuan, Sanur, Young Artist) will be introduced.
Prior the 1920s, Balinese art was a tradition practiced to serve religious purposes. The art form of such period lacked creativity, owing to the fact that they were displayed in temples and other religious settings. Correspondingly, the art form followed a set of sternly advocated Hinduism commandments, developed with limited choices of available coloring (earthen tone like red, brown, black etc.) and material. Such restrictions constricted the innovative aspect in developing the artwork (Djelantik, 1988). These criteria classified the Kamasan and Tabanan style. Kamasan and Tabanan style are the two oldest styles of Balinese art history. Although Kamasan and Tabanan style often discussed together as a pair, there are subtle deviations, which distinguished the styles. In spite of echoing Kamasan works (See Appendix Figure 2), Tabanan (See Appendix Figure 1) has its own idiosyncrasies and a greater, if rougher, fluidity than is found in classical Kamasan painting. Despite the variance, both styles are deemed the most traditional form of Balinese art.
The emergence of commercial Balinese painting was started in late 1920s to early 1930s. Balinese have been aware of alternatives mode of art for a very long time, as the record of the time when Balinese first saw Western art was in 1957 (Vickers, 2011, p. 29). It was the later exposure to Western artists that started the modernization of Balinese art. Although the arrival and succession of Dutch artist W. O. J, Nieuwenkamp and American painter Maurice Sterne introduced foreign art style to local artists of the tropical island, this primary exposure did very little in...

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