Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Literati Influence on Contemporary Chinese Art

by Patricia Frischer

The fore ground and middle ground are very small in comparison to the large and imposing mountain the back ground. This mountain is symbolic of the strength of his current Song Dynasty

Elaine Pierce lectured on  contemporary Chinese artists, tracing their development to literati roots.  She focused, in particular, on works from the Northern Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties. This ancient painting principles come from the 5th/6th century Xie He, a figure painter and critic. 
  1. Qiyn Shendong is the most important and is the breath resonance life-motion. Some call it the :Spirit Harmony" and it includes such things as  vitality, creativity, energy, life force. 
  2. Brushwork excellence
  3. Accurate Likenesses or Visual Virtuosity.
  4. Versatile Colors.
  5. Composition
  6. Transmission or learning by copying the master.
Ms. Pierce concentrated on those artist dealing with landscapes and she pointed out that the contemporary artists worked often outside of China. We were should examples of the masters.  Many of the contemporaries had experimented with more radical modern art, but were drawn back to the study of the old masters.  However, they always were springing forward to make their own individual styles and marks.

This lecture was so well researched and presented expertly and we encourage you to go to the 
 San Diego Chinese Historical Museum and watch the entire lecture when it is loaded on to their site.  
These zoom lectures have an international audience and are produced by SDSU Chinese Cultural Center and the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. They present many programs and exhibitions. 

These artists did not paint from life, but studied life and then used their imagination to create ideal scenes. 


The variety and quality of the marks is so high and an inspiration for future generations.

Using painting and calligraphy in a dramatic composition. 

The fog is said to be the spirit of the mountain. These work are creating initially by throwing the ink on the paper. Tiny details are then added.

The work is painstakingly created on individual blocks of wood. 

Uses fabric and her body as references in her work. One of the few recognized woman artists from this period. 

A re-interpretation of the scholars stone found in many paintings and usually an unusual rock used for meditation and contemplation.  

A quick reminder that Robert Motherwell and Franz Klines were heavily influenced by Chinese art.

This large works seems to be a quiet contemplation of mountains and mist, but the detail below shows it is actually digitally made up of  city buildings and the oil derricks. 

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