Mooi Indië: an Indonesian Art Genre [Bekantan Tales]
What is it?
Mooi Indie is originally the Dutch term for Beautiful Indies (In Bahasa: “Hindia Molek”). was originally the title of eleven reproductions of the watercolour paintings by the Dutch artist Fredericus Jacobus van Rossum du Chattel (1856-1917), showing merely harmonious scenes of East Indies. Today this Dutch expression is identified with the painting genre, which captures romantic depictions of the Dutch East Indies (Now Indonesia), it’s landscape scenes, showing volcanoes, mountains, river valleys, and villages immersing in golden sunshine.
It was first developed in early 19th century, as a purpose for intensifying the attractiveness of tourism in Dutch East Indies.Today they are amongst the most expensive artworks in auction, representing Indonesian modernism. As a matter of fact you could also see this Mooi Indie movement as a ”cultural colonization“ of Indonesia. Even the art history has been partly written by the colonizers.
S. Sudjojono, an indonesian famous painter, was the first person to popularized the term Mooi Indie in 1939 to refer to paintings depicting scenes in the Indies or Indonesia that were all beautiful, peaceful, romantic, heavenly and serene, which were very different from the situation of the people of the colonies.
Mooi Indie Characteristics
Characteristics of Mooi Indie’s paintings can be known from the objects of it’s paintings, including:
• Natural scenery, such as rivers, mountains, forests, rural atmosphere, beautiful rice fields in the Dutch East Indies.
• Describing women in the Dutch East Indies who were also exotic. Generally this Eastern woman is described as dancing or doing daily activities, or even in a half dressed state.
• Indigenous men also often appear as objects of painting, usually as villagers, dancers or aristocrats.
• Use color choices that are shaded, bright and peaceful.
Famous Mooi Indie Painter
- Isaac Israels
- Willem Jan Pieter van der Does
- F.J. du Chattel
- Raden Saleh
- Basoeki Abdullah
- Mas Pirngadi
- Lee Man Fong
- Biau Tik Kwie
Contributor: Benaya Stephen
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