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This museum goes beyond what its name suggests, serving as a full-on Balinese culture and arts center. Its picturesque rice field setting and landscaped gardens splattered with water features are attractions in themselves. South of central Ubud, a series of palatial pavilions designed in traditional Balinese style house a permanent exhibition of Balinese artworks that range from the early 20th century to the present day. Many are part of an on-loan private collection—one of the island's largest—from museum founders and art lovers Mr. and Mrs. Agung Rai (the adjacent villa resort is part of their entrepreneurial empire). Among the 250 or so works on display, notables include 19th-century Javanese artist Raden Saleh (regarded as Indonesia's "Father of Art"), traditional Kamasan-style paintings on tree bark, and Batuan works from the 1930s and 1940s. Look out for Bangswaan Jawa's mid-19th century oil on canvas depicting an Indonesian regent couple, allegedly the nation's first Western-format painting. Balinese maestros like I Gusti Nyoman Lempad and prominent foreign artists with Bali connections are also showcased, notably rare works by German artist Walter Spies. 

Special temporary exhibitions by both Indonesian and foreign artists yield a more contemporary leaning, with paintings, textiles, photography, installations, and sculptures. As a center for visual and performing arts, you can also find theatrical and musical performances here; try and catch one of the regularly scheduled indigenous dance shows (such as a
dramatic traditional Kecak performance) staged at the amphitheater. A multitude of artsy visitor workshops includes Balinese crafts such as woodcarving, batik making, and, of course, painting.