Seabad Sudjojono

Seabad S.Sudjojono     Agenda     Documentation


Seabad Sudjojono

Seabad Sudjojono is a commemoration of the art, life and legacy of S. Sudjojono. Throughout the year 2013, different events will be organized in different places and cities in Indonesia and abroad to celebrate the hundred years of S. Sudjojono. The various events will include seminars, discussions, art exhibitions, opera performance by the Master Program of the Jakarta Institute of Art, educational series for children and youth and so on.


The Centennial Celebration of S.Sudjojono will give a special attention to one of Sudjojono’s masterpieces, that is, the painting of “The Battle between Sultan Agung and JP Coen” (1973), which has been in the collection of Jakarta History Museum since 1974. This particular painting was especially commissioned by Ali Sadikin, the appointed Governor of Jakarta then, for the opening of the Jakarta History Museum in 1974.

The Battle between Sultan Agung and JP Coen, 1973, oil on canvas, 3x10m. Collection of Jakarta History Museum

The Battle between Sultan Agung and JP Coen, 1973, oil on canvas, 3x10m. Collection of Jakarta History Museum

Considering the theme, the technical difficulties, composition, size and time needed to research and execute the work; this painting is arguably one of the most important works ever done by Sudjojono. This work depicts selected moments from one of the most significant historical events in Indonesia: the battle between the king of Mataram Kingdom, Sultan Agung and the Governor-General of the VOC (or the Dutch East India Company in Indonesia), JP Coen that took place in Batavia (now Jakarta).

 To complete the spectacular 3x10m painting, Sudjojono did an extensive research in Holland for about 3 month to learn more about the event and to make sure that he got the right historical figures and facts correctly. His research was later demonstrated in his notes and writings as well as his many detailed sketches. These bodies of works are invaluable materials which demonstrate his ideas, line of thoughts and choices, and also details of the painter’s research and execution plans. The painting took one year to complete and was all painted by Sudjojono himself. Some technical challenges in executing the work include the difficulty in stretching the big and heavy work and getting the canvas of that size imported from Belgium.

In 2008, exactly 34 years after the opening of Jakarta History Museum, the painting was restored due to the deteriorating condition of the work caused by among others: age, climate problems and inappropriate environmental condition. The conservation project took 2 month to accomplish and was done in collaboration with Tropenmuseum Amsterdam and led by professional conservators from Heritage Conservation Center, Singapore. However, the maintenance of the painting and the attention given to the supporting environment of the painting is still very much needed today and it is important to make sure that the work is always well-kept in its best condition.

 The undeniable importance and value of the painting has, therefore, become the basic premise for the Centennial Celebration to give a special focus to issues that are related to this masterpiece work. Some of the topics to be brought into attention will include the importance, the care and preservation of the work, as well as the future role of the painting for the country.

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