Chinese painting, including Guohua, contemporary
Chinese painting is one of the oldest uninterrupted art traditions in the world. Painting in a traditional style is known today in Chinese as guóhuà (國畫 T, 国画 S), which means “folk painting” or “domestic”, in contrast to Western art styles that became popular in China in the twentieth century. Traditional painting essentially includes the same methods of calligraphy and is created with a brush dipped in black ink or colored pigments; oils are not used. As in the case of calligraphy, the most popular materials on which the paintings are made are paper and silk. Finished work can be installed on rolls that are hung or laid out. Works of traditional painting can also be performed on album sheets, walls, varnished surfaces, screens, etc.
2 main techniques of Chinese painting:
Gongbi (工筆), which means “thorough” and involves extremely detailed strokes that define the details very precisely. Often it is characterized by multicolor and usually depicts figurative or narrative themes. It is practiced by artists working at the royal court or in independent workshops.
The sfumato technique of ink painting in Chinese shui-mo (水墨, literally means “water and ink”), often called watercolor or hand painting, and also known as “literary painting”, because it was one of the “4 arts” of the class literary officials. This style is also referred to as xieyi (寫意) or free-hand style.
Landscape painting, begun, as is commonly believed, in Dao Tzu, was considered the highest form of Chinese painting and, basically, this is still happening. The time from the Five Dynasties Period to the Northern Song Period (907-1127) is known as the “great century of the Chinese landscape.” In the north, artists such as Jing Hao, Kuan Tong, Li Cheng, Fan Kuan and Guo Xi depicted towering mountains using strong black lines, sfumato ink, dry brush strokes, hatching resembling a rough stone. In the south, Dong Yuan, Ju Ran, and other artists painted the hills and rivers of their native village in idyllic scenes made with softer, blurry strokes. These two types of scenes and techniques have become the classic styles of Chinese landscape painting.
Features and training
Chinese painting and calligraphy differ from the art of other cultures in their emphasis on movement and the changes brought about by dynamic life. Traditionally, a technique is first memorized when a teacher shows the correct way to depict objects. The student must accurately copy them, repeating and repeating, until the movements become instinctive. Nowadays, there has been a discussion about the limitations of this copy tradition in contemporary art scenes, where innovation is the main rule. Lifestyle, tools and colors also influence new generations of craftsmen.
Modern chinese painting
Since the emergence of the Movement for a New Culture, Chinese artists have begun to use Western methods. In the early years of the People’s Republic of China, artists were invited to use socialist realism. Part of the socialist realism of the Soviet Union was imported unchanged, and artists were given themes, expecting them to create paintings in series. This mode was significantly weakened in 1953, and after the campaign “Let a hundred flowers bloom” in 1956-57, traditional Chinese painting experienced a significant revival. Along with such a development of events, a peasant genre was spreading in professional circles in the field of art, describing everyday life in rural areas in wall paintings and at outdoor exhibitions.
Art schools were closed during the Cultural Revolution, and the publication of thematic magazines and the organization of major exhibitions ceased. Large-scale destruction of works was carried out as part of the liquidation campaign “Crush the four remnants.”
After the Cultural Revolution, art schools and professional organizations were reintegrated. Exchanges were held with groups of foreign artists and Chinese, and Chinese artists began experimenting with new themes and techniques. A special case of improvisational style (“se-i”) can be seen in the work of the child prodigy Van Yani (born in 1975), who began painting at the age of 3 and has since made a significant contribution to the promotion of style in contemporary art.
After the Chinese economic reform, more and more artists boldly innovated in Chinese painting. These innovations include the development of new brush skills, such as Sfumato Ink with Vertical Spray, which is represented by Tiancheng Xie; creating a new style by combining traditional Chinese and Western drawing methods – sky-style painting, represented by Shaoqiang Chen, and new styles that depict contemporary themes and nature scenes.