Magnificant painting by Srihadi Soedarsono of Bedaya Ketawang

  • Mar 11, 2023

The artist captures the qualities of the different styles of dance, each step and gesture laden with meeting. From the stately Bedhoyo Ketawang to the lively Oleg Tambulilingan, he describes the traditional, iconic costumes with fidelity and accuracy, down to the embellishments and expressions. Srihadi’s masterful employment of color undoubtedly speaks of his commitment to the emotive and visual power of hues, expressed through variated shades and broad animated strokes.

Painting or art work that depict traditional dance is always captivating, from the movement, apparel, symbol, story, and cultural background. Especially when that painting is created by none other than Srihadi a maestro that is well know to show not only the beauty of the dance but also the soul. 

Today I have one of his masterpiece, this piece is  one of the largest piece ever appear in auction with Bedaya ketawang theme spanning  2 meter by 3,5meter and depicting 7 dancer which is one of the most dancer depicted in the Bedaya or bedoyo theme painting. Lets review it.

This painting depicts seven dancers performing the sacred dance of the royal courts. Also known as the bedhaya, the bedhaya dance is an important symbol of the ruler’s powers and requires that all nine-performers must be in a holy state. The dance can only be perform Infront of the king, as the dance was made to celebrate the coronation of a king or the commemoration.

Compare to other dance Bedaya focuses on contemplation that in turn produce a graceful and gentle subtle movement. And that is what Srihadi perfectly captures in this work.

The clothes are formed by adding contrast from the background, which is then limited by the dancer skin color and a white scarf, this accentuate the dancer gracefulness . The dancer's movement is shown through the waist using a long white shawl drawn with a long repetitive brushstroke, and through its hand with a fine spontaneous brushstroke.

Srihadi manage to not only depict the iconic custome perfectly but also the make up and accessories accurately. From the make up with red lips and long eyes lashes to the konde or bun that is cover in gold accessories with a long braid white cloth draping from the head to the waist.

Srihadi’s Bedaya-Ketawang - Power of Inner Beauty celebrates the aesthetic principles of this sacred dance, linking the  concepts of beauty and strength, by showing the bedaya as a kind of meditation and spiritual transcendence.

I truly understand dance. If we examine closely, every dance has its pakem or vocabulary of movement and type of costume, all of which are imbued with philosophical meaning. The body language of a particular dancer adds its own particular nuances to the character of the particular dance. The spirit of a dance varies, depending on who performs its. How can it be possible to repeat oneself?

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