Ubud is full of communities in and around which are specialized in woodcarving and craft, which is sold all over the island due to its beauty and finishing. This place is known for its art and craft culture. There are many museums in Ubud to validate the same.
It was 1930's when the king of Ubud started inviting artists from different corners of the world to express their knowledge on the Balinese empire by creating art. Many artists fell in love with the culture and tradition and made Ubud and Bali their second home.
Nieuwenkamp was the first artist to arrive in Bali and was attracted by its beauty in 1886. He wrote a book too named ‘Bali en Lombok’. Other artists who followed their steps were the legends Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Theo Mejer etc.
One of the artists who had different intentions and a unique style was Antonio Blanco.
Antonio Blanco was born in Manila, Philippines on 15th September 1911. His parents were both Spanish. Don Antonio loved art, literature and languages in his high school. After completing the high school, he moved to National Academy of Art to pursue his passion and there he learnt under Sidney Dickinson.
Blanco somehow got so fascinated to female body that he preferred this subject more than any other. He started drawing and practicing the drawings of women’s body.
He was also a traveller and while exploring different countries, he landed on Bali in 1952. The charm and beauty of this island captivated him to spend some time here and enchant its beauty. Later the king of Ubud gave him a piece of land to set up his home in Campuhan, Ubud.
Blanco was married to a Balinese woman named Ni Ronji who was a dancer. The two of them never left their place and stayed there till the end with their 4 children’s.
Blanco soon became a famous name in Indonesia as well as abroad. Many auctions brought him great fortunes and he was also awarded with lots of awards and huge prizes.
It was a dream for Blanco to turn his studio-mansion into a museum consisting of his own artistic creations which he devoted time to throughout his life. During his final years, he started living his dream and converting his place into a museum but accidentally he passed away just before the inauguration.
His son Mario then took over the situation and followed his father’s footstep to turn the beautiful mansion into a museum and also opted painting and art as his courier choice. He still serves the museum and the museum is now open to all the public to witness Blanco’s exotic works along with some of Mario’s too.
A 5 acre space beside the Campuhan River covered with lush green valley and on a hilltop with a splendid view of area around, the mansion-studio turned museum of late Don Antonio Blanco is a treat to visit and explore.
An unofficial landmark in Ubud, the Don Antonio Blanco museum consists of paintings, collages and poems by Antonio Blanco and also his son Mario Blanco.
The entrance of the museum is through a circular gate with Don Antonio Blanco’s signature. Before the gate you’ll find parrots, chickens, monkeys welcoming you and making a spree.
As you enter the premise, you’ll find a peaceful space covered all green and a fountain in the middle, a sweet gesture to welcome a visitor. You may get lucky enough to find Mario Blanco welcoming the guests and telling you a story or two about his father.
Upon walking to the main building, you’ll find stairs going to the main entrance. There are two dragons like ‘nagas’ or snake sculpture made to increase the intensity. The whole building is covered in front by a sculptor of goddess Saraswati.
Blanco was also a big admirer of European Art. Hence, you will see the blend of both European and Balinese art in his paintings as well as the building. The building comprises of 3 levels consisting of different work of Don Blanco.
Upon entering, you’ll find a gigantic hall full of portraits. This will make some adrenaline run down for sure of curiosity. The turquoise walls and marble floors will create the right mood.
Don Antonio Blanco had a different charisma and intellect. He was also an avid writer and also you can find some of his poems, riddles and puns in the museum. These are a true masterpiece if you understand it; the humor used was up to a level. The guide will help you describing these things.
The major things you’ll notice at this place are the portraits of nude women’s body in different reclining and sexual position. It was Don Blanco’s favorite subject from the beginning. Some visitors may find it shocking but this is what made Don Antonio Blanco known as ‘Dali of Bali’. So, make sure not to bring any children with you.
Don’t miss to visit the studio of Don Blanco to witness the last painting of Blanco still placed on the easel as it is and waiting to get finished. You can also find some artwork from Blanco’s son Mario who is equally talented and now the owner of the museum.
Photography is strictly prohibited inside the museum but you can buy the books from the book store present in the premises to have a view and show it to your friends. The book ‘Fabulous Blanco’ is a book giving all the details about Antonio Blanco’s ventures and the museum.
Other things you can find inside the mansion are a temple, a restaurant named after Blanco’s wife named Ni Ronji who was a Balinese dancer. The restaurants serve great cuisines to refresh your mind and traditional coffee to keep you energetic. There is also a gift shop to buy books and gifts or souvenirs.
How to Reach
You can hire a car or bike from central Ubud as there is no direct route transportation going to this museum. The taxi will cost around 20,000 IDR -30,000 IDR based on your bargaining skills. The pay includes to and fro transportation and waiting time too.
Address: Jl. Raya Campuhan, Sayan, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia.
Entry Fee: The entry fee of Blanco Renaissance is 50,000 IDR and includes a welcome drink. Children shouldn’t be taken inside due to the standard of painting present.
Opening Hours: The museum is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM throughout the week including holidays. Best time to visit is 12:00 AM to 2:00 PM to enjoy the early evening before leaving.
Phone: You can contact the Blanco Renaissance Museum at +62 361 975502 or +62 361 975551.
If you are in Ubud and are planning to spend a day doing something new, then the Blanco Renaissance Museum would be the best solution. Even if you admire art or not, you may not know anything about painting, still you will love the masterpieces of Antonio Blanco.
You will be flourished to hear about the history of a foreigner artist who decided to stay in Bali forever due to its rich culture and beauty. The story may motivate you to start your own venture or follow your own passion.