Raden Saleh, was born into a noble Javanese family in 1807, was a pioneer of modern Indonesian art.
He was considered to be the first modern artist from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), and his paintings corresponded with nineteenth-century romanticism which was popular in Europe at the time. He also expressed his cultural roots and inventiveness in his work.
It was from Kruseman that Raden Saleh studied his skills in portraiture, and later was accepted in various European courts where he was assigned to do portraits. From 1839, he spent five years in the Ernst I court, Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, who became an important patron.
From Schelfhout, Raden Saleh furthered his skills as a landscape painter. Raden Saleh visited several European cities, as well as Algiers. In The Hague, a lion tamer allowed Raden Saleh to study his lion, and from that his most famous painting of animal fights were created, and subsequently brought fame to the artist.
Many of his paintings were exhibited in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Several of his paintings were destroyed in when the Colonial Dutch pavilion in Paris was burnt in 1931.
In the painting, Raden Saleh is said to show his views of the colonialist governments from deliberately making the Dutch look pompous and proud, but somehow imbalanced. The Javanese, on the other hand, were depicted as somehow more balanced in composition. It is also believed that one of the Javanese figures in the painting was a self-portrait.