Beauties & The Landscape
A Burmese Modern Art Collection

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Beauties & The Landscape –
A Burmese Modern Art Collection

8 May – 31 May 2020

Enormous differences exist between Burmese painting and Western-style painting. Since the European Renaissance, the focus in Western painting had been on capturing nature and the human form realistically, according to objective scientific principles. In Burmese painting, the emphasis was not scientific or naturalistic; the goal was to portray the realities of religion, that is Buddhism and its religious inspiration and all the cultural aspects associated with it.


Both had systems, what was different about them was their philosophical base and fundamentals. After the British annexation of Burma, it was inevitable that Western influences grew, especially on the lifestyle of the urban wealthy. In about 1890s, the British and the high society Burmese started collecting paintings as part of their culture. Many Burmese great artists had studied and learned the Western-style painting and excelled in both oil and watercolour painting; and also a hybrid of both and the traditional Burmese painting styles. They painted a mostly peaceful landscape with pagodas or rural landscape of ordinary folks and scenes of communal and temple festivals, primarily rooted in Burmese traditional culture. Oil portraits of members of Burmese aristocracy, and famous personalities, liked actors and dancers were also popular. This collection showcased the most important and essential artists of that time, in likes of Saya Chone, Yatanabon Maung Su, U Ba Nyan, U Ngwe Gaing, U San Win, U Ba Thet, U Ba Kyi and U Ba Yin Galay.

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