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Directory Home> Bali Products> Painting of Bali
 
PAINTING OF BALI
 
Chinese brush paintings, Indian statues, Japanese graphic arts and African masks became objets d'art that were highly appreciated. Colonialism thus simultaneously exploited and opened the world, creating a modern global understanding of various cultures. Western influence on Balinese paintings did not stop at the stage of appreciation and appropriation. In the 1920's and 1930's, a group of Western artists came to stay in Bali, exerting their influence in the production of Balinese paintings.

The two most prominent in the group of expatriates were Walter Spies, a German musician-cumpainter, who later became an authority on Balinese culture; and Rudolf Bonnet, the Dutch portrait painter. These two painters practically started a period of renaissance in Balinese art with the esta blishment of the group called Pita Maha. (1935). They distributed paper to the local artists, advised them on how to represent anatomy and depth, and opened up new markets in Europe for Balinese paintings. Walter Spies himself was also interested in the performing arts and together with Beryl de Zoete wrote a comprehensive book entitled "Dance and Drama in Bali" (Faber and Faber Limited, 1938).

However, and contrary to what some Balinese would like us to believe, the art of painting in Bali never received the same attention as bestowed to its theater and dances. Although many exhibitions were held, Balinese paintings was never considered equal with Chinese painting or even Persian miniatures. It was taken as minor art.
 
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