Painting : Painting in The Park (Kartono Yudhokusumo - 1952)

Title : "Painting in The Park"

Artist : Kartono Yudhokusumo

Year : 1952

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 90 x 55 cms.

Kartono is considered a pioneer of the decorative genre in Indonesia. This development originated
from the realist paintings that used colours freely. In the work “Melukis di Taman” (1952), one can see how the decorative style truly makes the spirit. All of the objects in the scenery are depicted with intricate detail, both in the foreground and the far background. The many bright colours on the objects too reflect more the painter’s intuition rather that the reality that exists in nature. Another feature that characterises the genre is the use of aerial perspective that allows the horizon to be seen from above and extending the scope of the painting, so that more objects can be captured. This painting reveals the painter’s romanticism in imagining a world that is whole and ideal. The women in kebaya, mingling merrily and caring for each other, become an important part amidst the trees and animals in a colourful garden. An interesting feature is a man on the front corner painting a female model wearing more modern clothing unlike the other women in the crowd wearing kebaya. Aside from depicting social settings that relates to lifestyle, this may also explain the painter’s romanticism.

In his subconscious, a romantic always wants to present an ideal world and contradictions or various fragmented realities. There is a strong possibility that the central figure in his works is a manifestation of the realm of ideas that are made to appear. However, in most such paintings of decorative genre, there is an awareness that nature is cosmos and humans are a mere minutiae within it. As such, in this painting even such an ideal ego of the painter occupies only a small part in the painting’s corner that is otherwise full of objects and rich in colour.