http://kaladarshan.arts.ohio-state.edu/studypages/internal/HA690/maoperiod/socrealism/oilptg/pgs/*C20_260M.htm Two Portraits in Front of Tiananmen Square Students will examine two oil paintings set in front of Mao Zedong's portrait in Tiananmen Square. One was painted right before the Cultural Revolution and the other painted a few years after the 1989 protests. They will "read" the painting to uncover important visual cues and they will consider the social and historical context behind these images. In Front of Tiananmen , Sun Zixi, 1964 Taking a Picture in Front of Tiananmen , Wang Jingsong, 1992 At these sites students will compare and contrast these two images set at the same place. The class will review modern China's timeline and consider the messages implicit in these paintings. Special attention should be paid to the artists' generation for the students to evaluate the relationship between the artist and the setting. Are these positive or negative images? Are these critical messages or neutral moments? While this work, with its heroic figures, is typical of the socialist realist painting produced by artists trained primarily after the Communist victory of 1949, it presents an alternative to the heroic determination that dominated works made for the history painting commissions. The Anti-Rightist Campaign of 1957 and the Great Leap Forward of 1958, which were followed by widespread food shortages, exhausted the Chinese people. Art works produced by academic painters of the early 1960s tended to downplay political sacrifice, and instead emphasize the pleasures of life. Smiling citizens from all parts of China are assembled in front of Tiananmen as though for a group photo. Sun Zixi is a 1958 graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts who serves on the school's faculty.