Information before you go
Neka Museum Ubud:"Artists are fortunate in that they are capable of living twice: First in the present, and later via their creative efforts".
This is one of the best fine art museums I've been to in Bali. It's founded by the former school teacher turned into a collector, Suteja Neka in 1982. The museum shows many artworks by Balinese, other Indonesian and foreign-born artists who were inspired by the beautiful Balinese sceneries of everyday life.
The museum isn't some kind of musty old-fashioned museum but really a great place to learn about the Balinese culture and their works of art such as wood carvings, masks, wayang kulit puppets, different styles of paintings and keris daggers with gold and silver crafting.
The art museum is housed in eight pavilions or art halls set in a garden with a gorgeous Woos River view. You can expect the following at the museum:
Pavilion I: Balinese Painting Hall
a. Puppet Style Painting; most of these paintings are stories with multiple scenes from Hindu and Buddhist epics or Balinese-Javanese romances and folk tales. Every detail of costume, facial features, body size and color indicates the specific rank, figure or character type. Not many col ours are used in these paintings.
b. Transitional Style Painting; These paintings still look a lot like the Puppet Style paintings but the figures in these paintings begin to take on a little more natural, human appearance because of the influence of foreigners. A wider range of lighter col ours are used in these paintings. Artists paid less attention to the fine ink details common in traditional puppet style painting.
c. Ubud Style Painting; These paintings are influenced by Walter Spies (German, 1895-1942) and Rudolf Bonnet (Dutch, 1895-1978) who settled down in Ubud in the 1930's. Walter Spies emphasized light, shadow and perspective in his works. Rudolf Bonnet focused more on anatomy and portraiture.
d. Batuan Style Painting; this style began to appear in the 1930's in Batuan, just south of Ubud. The paintings appear dark and mysterious and are focused on themes of black magic and intense rituals set amidst lush, decorative foliage. Every inch of these small paintings is used and tells a story.
View from the museum
Pavilion II: Arie Smit Pavilion
a. Paintings by Arie Smit; This painter first visited Bali in 1956 and decided to make Bali his new home after two months on the island. His paintings focus on the Balinese people and places of Bali. With his own 'broken col ours technique his artwork shows the beauty of Balinese life.
b. Young Artists Style Painting; In the early 1960s Arie Smit gave art supplies to teenagers in Penestanan village near Ubud and encouraged them to paint whatever they felt like. They created a naive childish like style of painting now called the Young Artist Style.
The Arie Smit pavilion at the Neka Museum in Ubud
Pavilion III: Photo Documentation
Color photos record some of the exhibitions and events involving the Neka Museum.
Pavilion IV: Lempad Pavilion
I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862?-1978) is Bali's most famous artist. He was a master artisan, carver and architect. He designed parts of the royal palace and the temple at Ubud. His ink drawings on paper, many with touches of color, are internationally famous. Lempad illustrated famous and lesser known episodes from Indian mythology and Balinese folk tales. He often added erotic and humorous elements.
The Museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 9 am - 5 pm and on Sunday from noon until 5 pm. Admission is Rph 50.000 and kids under 12 years of age go in for free.
At this museum you can learn in a informal and nice way more about the Balinese art. Check for special exhibitions and join a workshop while you are there.Read more
Foreign artists have not only influenced the Balinese artists but have created their own style as well. A visit to this studio is an unique experience in the heart of Ubud.Read more
Just like any other art form in Bali, the masks have undergone some changes in time. However they still hold an important role in the daily life on Bali.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
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