Antonio Blanco Museum is a place where you can savor Balinese life in motion, with a visit to the family temple or stroll through the gardens. Everywhere there are touches of Antonio Blanco’s life. The artist’s studio remains undisturbed, the unfinished painting still on the sunken easel.
Women wander through the yard, in traditional Balinese dress carrying offerings. The visitor can see the delicate flower and palm leaf offerings being made in the courtyard. The Blanco family provides a personal tour of the museum and grounds
Blanco Renaissance Museum is an unofficial landmark in Ubud, the house and studio of the late flamboyant Philippine-born maestro, Don Antonio Blanco. Located on a hilltop overlooking the lush valley of Campuhan, it houses paintings, collages and illustrated poetry, together with lithographic artworks of his favorite subject: nude Balinese women.
The private residence and lavish studio has guided tours of the facility, with the artist’s family members hosting you if you’re lucky. The thought-provoking collections, lush garden surroundings and a fine restaurant established in the name of the artist’s late wife and muse all provide a great stopover on your trips to Ubud.
A five-minute drive westward from the Puri Saren royal palace and the main Ubud hub, the museum is hard to miss, on a hilltop above the Campuhan valley. A sharp turn and steep driveway leads you right up to the arched entrance gates. Inside is a large garden lawn and courtyard before the main palatial building that blends Balinese and Spanish architecture, a homage to Blanco’s heritage.
Admission is 50,000 rupiahs, which gets you a fresh welcome drink and access to the galleries, studios and grounds. Enter the main building, and a massive marble hall lined with Blanco’s artworks in lavish and unusual frames soon surrounds you. Many colourful nude portraits hang in this room, while out towards the studio you will see various collages with 60s-era paintings and paintbrushes and dried paint in front of an artwork in progress, most probably that of his son Mario, who follows his father’s passion in arts.
Here you will find only Blanco and his son’s works, there are no other artists’ collections. We recommend this museum strictly for adults and art lovers – not for children, apart from the palatial gardens and a collection of gorgeous parrots and other exotic birds in the courtyard.
Some of the art pieces occasionally bring a smile to your face; others a slight cringe. There are even some shady pieces with snippets of porn magazines overlaid with soapboxes, sand and seashells. Moreover, knowing that one of Blanco’s paintings was once sold for 5 billion rupiahs in Singapore in 2012 really makes you want to explore more of the displays. After the main gallery, you are guided through other studios, before exiting into a private parking shed.
There are several Blanco Litographs and books about Antonio Blanco available for purchase at the museum. The Blanco family provides personal tours of the museum and grounds. While visiting, the museum encourages visitors to take a stroll outside to the surrounding areas of the main building.
The Blanco Renaissance Museum features a range of facilities to aid your journey into the arts. A studio where Master Blanco used to paint as well as the gallery exhibiting Mario’s works can be found inside.
The museum also features a gift shop, café and the Blanco’s family temple. The museum’s café features a cozy Balinese atmosphere and serves a range of European and Asian menus and snacks. The contiguous tropical gardens throughout its grounds are lush and enjoyable to spend even a full day visit at the museum
While visiting the museum, please take a walk to other areas surrounding the main building. The Renaissance Museum provides a variety of facilities to aid your journey into the arts. Here you can find the studio where Master Blanco used to paint, the gallery that exhibits Mario’s works of art, a gift shop, café and the family temple – a sacred place according to Balinese belief, where Gods are worshiped and ancestors honored..
“A thing of Beauty is a joy forever”. It is painted on the wall of the gallery and becomes a reminder that the gallery has been a witness of the beauty of arts by Blanco’s family. Nowadays the gallery presents a microcosm of Antonio Blanco’s world and houses both of the maestro’s works and Mario’s.
Brushes scatter, the walls are covered by paintings and Beethoven symphony is audible vaguely – it is the atmosphere that will be found inside the studio where the master used to create his masterpieces. Frozen in time, the artist’s studio is preserved exactly as on the last day Antonio Blanco painted in it. He has gone but the memory remains. Now the studio is opened to the public and it becomes the workplace of Mario, the maestro’s only son.
After wander around within the museum, you can relax and enjoy the genuine Balinese atmosphere in the museum’s café. The café serves a range of European and Asian menus and snacks, including Balinese traditional meals.
The amphitheatre was built for the Antonio Blanco’s oldest daughter, Tjempaka, as an accolade for her performance. She used to be a dancer, an actress and also a model of several Blanco’s paintings. Nowadays the amphitheater is being renovated to revive the Balinese performing arts. Balinese dances and dramas will be coming soon on The Blanco’s Renaissance Museum’s Amphitheater.
Temples are grand meeting place where the gods descend from their celestial abodes to meet with the community. Temples become the interface between the seen and unseen worlds of Balinese life. A series of gates divide the space into courtyards with specific functions. Within these courtyards are the various structures, which facilitate and give meaning to the activities of temple ceremony.
The gift shop is open Monday through Sunday at 09.00 am – 05.00 pm, offering a wide array of Asian artifacts to suit all tastes. The special ones are handmade teapot and glass-platter with The Renaissance Museum’s logo on them; all are made from ceramic. If you prefer something that you can wear, the gift shop also provides shirts and silk scarf. The merchandise have fair price both in US$ and Rupiah.
HISTORY ANTONIO BLACO MUSIUM
The Blanco Renaissance Museum embodies Antonio Blanco’s life and dreams. Built in his former home on the gentle hilltops of Campuan, Ubud, and opened on December 28th 1998, the Blanco Museum exudes a unique rococo charm. Many streams of Balinese life converge in this extraordinary building, which represents the Balinese world as seen through Blanco’s eyes. Blanco built the museum to commemorate his love for Bali and to house his important works. It is built on 20,000 square meters of land in accordance with the precepts of the Hindu faith. The three stories of the building are symbolic of Balinese faith and represent the Upper, Middle and Lower worlds where Gods, Man and Demons all have a rightful place. Hence, the uppermost floor of the museum houses the artist’s most esoteric works.
A huge green Italian marble archway, 15 meters high, fronts the entrance steps that are guarded by two massive mythical stone dragons. The fountain in front of the entrance is an emissary of the waves of the sea which to the whole cosmos. The museum has a pair of stairs, symbolizing all duality in the material world. The second level of the museum represents the Middle world. It is here that Antonio Blanco’s poetry is conserved.
The museum also pays homage to nature and the unseen world of spirits and the mind, collectively known as ‘Niskala’. The interior of the museum is palatial and windowless although a stunning stained glass dome roof draws in rays of natural sunlight. Ornate pillars and elaborate wrought iron circular staircases and railings provide a lavish environment for Blanco’s works of art. The Renaissance Museum is stunning evidence that Blanco indulged his fantasies and created a dream world of his own. This is a theater, a world where legends are portrayed and fantasies realized.
The museum also pays homage to nature and the unseen world of spirits and the mind, collectively known as ‘Niskala’. The interior of the museum is rather palatial windowless building where a stunning stained glass dome roof draws in rays of natural sunlight. Ornate pillars and elaborate wrought iron circular staircases and railings provide a lavish environment for Blanco’s works of art. The Renaissance Museum becomes the evidence that Blanco has indulged his fantasies and created a dream world of his own. This is a theater, a world where legends are portrayed and fantasies realized.