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Art of Modern China - Research Paper Example

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How did the Shanghai School and Lingnan School of Painting contribute to the innovations of the traditional Chinese ink painting? Introduction: Origins of Chinese Ink Painting. Chinese culture is deeply entwined in its technologies of silk and paper making, both of which are fundamental to the art that is known as guo hua, literally “land painting, ” or “national painting.” From the earliest times the natural world provided the main themes , and the activity of painting was regarded as the job of a particularly wise and educated person, on a par with poetry and calligraphy…
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Download file to see previous pages “Chinese painting, which is based on graphic conventions, builds from a planar, rather than an optical, structure. Early pictorial representation, using graphic symbols, reads both horizontally along register lines and vertically in an open field in the picture surface.” (Fong, 2003, no page number.) This close relationship between the written word and the pictorial image lasted for many centuries right into the twentieth century. The administrators and courtiers of successive imperial dynasties were generally the only people who possessed the literary skills necessary to be an artist and they produced beautiful monochrome pictures in black ink, sometimes with washes of carefully chosen colors, representing landscape or birds, fish and animals. In the sixth century a set of six laws of painting were formed by Xie He (active c. 500-535) and they are Spirit Resonance, or vitality; Bone Method, a type of brushwork; Correspondence to the Object, or depicting of forms, Suitability of Type, a method of laying on colors; Division and Planning, which means arrangement or composition; and Transmission by Copying, which is a way of ensuring that ancient models are passed on to future generations. (Clunes, 2009, p. 46). As technologies such as woodblocks and various kinds of printing developed, so the range of colors grew, and experimentation in the use of lines and washes also. The key ancient features of Chinese painting styles were cumulative, and change was gradual, that is to say, successive generations of artists consciously incorporated the earlier techniques of the masters, and carried them forward by synthesizing them into new compositions. Copying older works was advocated as a way of improving, and this is why there is such a consistent and recognizable line of tradition all the way through Chinese ink painting so that “every compositional detail, every outline, texture and ink wash had its origin in an ancient source.” (Sullivan, 2000, p. 258). Simpler peasant styles, especially portraits, with clear ink outlines were popular alongside the more sophisticated literati styles. Contribution of The Shanghai School to Chinese Ink Painting. Things began to change, however, in the middle of the nineteenth century when China began to open up to influences from the West, and one city in particular was most receptive to this new phenomenon: Shanghai. As a thriving port city it was the point of arrival for many ships and it became the most international of all art scenes in China, fuelled by the profits of traders from within China and beyond. Artists from the provinces flocked to Shanghai in the hope of finding buyers and patrons for their work. In the 1840s and 1850s the prevailing style was still was traditional bird-and-flower paintings using a wash without outlines. This style was used by Zhang Xiong (1803-1886), a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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