Pioneer of Modern Indonesian Painter, Biography and Story of Raden Saleh


Pioneer of Indonesian Modern Painting, Raden Saleh

After studying fine art in Europe and painting with Western-style disciplines, Raden Saleh is known as a pioneer of modern Indonesian painting.

One day, several young Dutch painters who were learning to paint a flower and showed it to Raden Saleh. Some beetles and butterflies were there. They mocked Raden Saleh.

Hot and humid, Raden Saleh was silent for several days. Worried, his friends came to his house and broke down the door. They shouted. "Raden Saleh's body" lay on the floor covered in blood. Before panicking, Raden Saleh came. "Your paintings only fool beetles and butterflies, but mine can deceive humans," he smiled.

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Raden Saleh was the first Indonesian artist to paint in a Western discipline. He was later called the pioneer of modern Indonesian painting.

Raden Saleh Syarif Bustaman was born in Terbaya, near Semarang, to Sayid Husen bin Alwi bin Awal and Raden Ayu Syarif Hoesen. Year of birth confused. In his self-portrait, Raden Saleh writes that he was born in May 1811. However, in the letter he is never mentioned in 1814.

"Maybe because in ancient Java there were Javanese (Saka) and Islamic calendars, so Raden Saleh was a bit confused about having to adjust to the Christian calendar," said Werner Kraus, a curator from Germany who has conveyed a. quarter century to study the work of Raden Saleh. Kraus chose 1811 because it fits the data that Raden Saleh learned to paint in 1819 when he was eight years old.

Raden Saleh's first teacher was AAJ Payen, a Belgian who was commissioned by the colonial government to paint nature and landscapes in the Dutch East Indies. Because of his talent, he had the opportunity to develop his knowledge in the Netherlands in 1830. There Raden Saleh studied portrait painting with Cornelis Krusemen and landscapes with Andreas Schelfhout.

Painting portraits and landscapes really didn't please him. He did it for the money. His anxiety was relieved when he met an animal circus troupe led by Henri Martin from Paris who was visiting The Hague. "Saleh made a self-portrait of Henri Martin. This was a ploy to get Henri to let Saleh come over anytime to see the circus animals," Kraus said.

Saleh made many sketches of Martin's lions and tigers. That was the beginning of his interest in painting animal life. One of his paintings is “Lion's Head”, which depicts a lion's face that looks clear, full of authority. This painting is in the collection of the Kupferstichkabinnet Museum of Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany.

In 1839, the Dutch government gave him the opportunity to visit European countries. In Paris, France, he met the painter Horace Vernet who influenced the play of color. But in terms of showing the mood of the object of his painting, he was influenced by the great French Romantic painter, Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix. “Raden Saleh himself never mentioned Delacroix's name. Maybe he saw a Delacroix painting in a museum,” Kraus said.

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The romantic style can be seen in his work "The Lion and the Snake". Uniquely, 23 years after this painting was made by Raden Saleh, Eugene Delacriox painted a similar theme, entitled “Tigers and Snakes”.

The French artist who was also influenced by Raden Saleh was Theodore Gericault. The painting "Flood in Java" seems to be influenced by Gericault's "Rakit Medusa". Both depict the dramatic atmosphere of a group of people trying to save themselves on the roof of a house (Raden Saleh) or a raft (Gericault) from a major flood disaster (Raden Saleh) or from a flash flood in the ocean (Gericault).

In 1844 he returned to Holland. King Willem II gladly accepted and was awarded the Eikenkroon Star. Then King Willem III appointed him court painter.

In 1851, Raden Saleh returned to Java, after marrying a wealthy European woman, Miss Winkelman. The marriage did not last long. Raden Saleh divorced and remarried a Javanese woman.

In Java, Raden Saleh was assigned as the conservator of the "Art Collection". Raden Saleh traveled to Central and West Java to paint landscapes and portraits of kings and nobles. However, one of his phenomenal works is the painting “The Arrest of Diponegoro” (1857).

After successfully arranging the arrest of Prince Diponegoro, Hendrick Merkus de Kock returned to the Netherlands and received the title of national hero. To celebrate and mark this success, de Kock asked Cornelis Kruseman - Raden Saleh's teacher - to create his own painting.

“Raden Saleh was there when Kruseman drew De Kock. Imagine the feelings of the Javanese youths watching the people who captured Diponegoro proudly portrayed in front of them,” said Kraus.

Not only that. De Kock asked Nicolaas Pieneman to make a painting of the capture of Diponegoro as a sign of the success of his military career. Pieneman worked on a painting entitled "Koloni Diponegoro". Because of this painting Raden Saleh made "The Capture of Diponegoro", which was given to King Willem III.

“At that time, what Raden Saleh did was probably still far from the issue of nationalism. But by then he had demonstrated anti-colonialism,” Krauss said.

In 1857, Saleh returned to Europe and visited Italy. In 1878 he returned to Java, and died on April 23, 1880 in Bogor, West Java.


Raden Saleh's works


Quoted from Raden Saleh's book and his work, Werner Kraus (2018), Raden Saleh is a Javanese hero. The name Bustaman was taken from the name of his grandfather, Sayyid Abdoellah Boestaman. Since the age of 10, his uncle who is also the Regent of Semarang handed over Raden Saleh to the Dutch authorities in Batavia. Raden Saleh's artistic talent was evident when he was in a public school (Volks School).

Thank you for your talent, Raden Saleh had the opportunity to study art in the Netherlands in 1830 (Historia: 2018). In the Land of the Windmill, Raden Saleh studied portrait painting with Cornelis Krusemen and landscape painting with Andrean Schelfhout.

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Many of Raden Saleh's works were inspired by European painters he met while studying there. The color scheme in his paintings was influenced by the French painter Horace Vernet. When showing the mood of the object of the painting, he was influenced by the great painter of French Romanticism, Ferdinand Victor Eugene De La Croix.

Another French artist who influenced Raden Saleh's work was Theodore Gericault. The painting of floods in Java seems to have been influenced by Gericault's painting of the Medusa Raft.

had become a court painter during the reign of King Willem II previously given to Eikenkroon upon his return to the Netherlands in 1844.

Raden Saleh returned to Java in 1851. While in Java, Raden Saleh served as conservator of art collections. He has traveled to Central and West Java to paint the landscapes there. He also painted portraits of kings and nobles.

Of his many works, Raden Saleh's phenomenal painting is The Arrest of Diponegoro which was made in 1857.

Raden Saleh died in Bogor in 1878 after going to Europe in the period 1857-1878. (S-IJ)

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