The Art of Chinese Painting (Speaker: Vincent Lee Kwun-leung)

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The Sui Wo Study Centre (瑞禾學社) locates in Tai Wai (大圍), which is administered by a Catholic institution called "Opus Dei" (主業會). …

The Sui Wo Study Centre (瑞禾學社) locates in Tai Wai (大圍), which is administered by a Catholic institution called "Opus Dei" (主業會).

The Sui Wo Study Centre gathers a group of "elite-minded" actual students and alumni from Tak Sun Secondary School (德信中學), KATSO members (天主教同學會成員) from CUHK or other local universities, Spanish and Filippino exchange students who study at the local universities, and Catholic youngsters who grew up from the parishes and secondary schools in Sha Tin or Tai Po District, to jointly practise a professional mode of apostolic lifestyle with a commitment to their favourite occupations in the secular world.

On 8 and 22 February 2014, the Sui Wo Study Centre invited Vincent Lee Kwun-leung (李冠良) to conduct a Chinese art history lecture for the attendees, which corresponded with the festive atmosphere of Chinese New Year celebration.

The Chinese art masters that Vincent Lee selected for his lecture were:

(1) Li Sixun (李思訓) and Zhou Fang (周昉) from Tang Dynasty
(2) Emperor Song Huizhong (宋徽宗) and Cui Bo (崔白) from Song Dynasty
(3) Wang Meng (王蒙) from Yuan Dynasty
(4) Gong Xian (龔賢) from Ming Dynasty
(5) Shi Tao (石濤) from Qing Dynasty
(6) Xu Beihong (徐悲鴻) from Republican Era
(7) Zhang Daqian (張大千) from Communist Era

One of the important highlights was that, Dr. Peter Herbert (B.A., P.G.C.E., Lic. en Fil. y Let., M. Ed., Ph.D.), Principal of Tak Sun Secondary School (德信中學), was one of the attendees to listen to Vincent Lee's in-depth aesthetic interpretations.

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  • 1. The Art of Chinese Painting Speaker: Vincent LEE Kwun-leung Venue: Sui Wo Study Centre Date: 8 & 22 Feb 2014
  • 2. Two types of Chinese paintings: Gongbi ( 工筆 ) Fine-brush or delineative painting Yibi ( 意筆 ) Self-expressive (or “xieyi” in Putonghua) painting Upper: “A Pair of Egrets” ( 雙鷺圖 ) by Ju Chao ( 居巢 ) from Qing Dynasty Lower: “Eagle” ( 鷹 ) by Gao Jianfu ( 高 劍父 ) from Republican Era
  • 3. Basic theories
  • 4. The “Six Rules” ( 六法 ) proclaimed by Xie He ( 謝赫 ) during the Southern and Northern Jin Dynasty: The vividness of spiritual essence (qi yun sheng dong, 氣韻生動 ) The vibrancy of structural brushwork (gu fa yong bi, 骨法用筆 ) The colour distribution according to secular code (xui lei fu cai, 隨類賦彩 )
  • 5. The “Six Rules” ( 六法 ) proclaimed by Xie He ( 謝赫 ) during the Southern and Northern Jin Dynasty (continued): The likeliness of forms (ying wu xie xing, 應物寫形 ) The spatial distribution (jing ying wei zhi, 經營位置 ) The persisting habit of imitation on styles (chuan yi mu xie, 傳移模寫 ) by ancient masters as a fulfilment of learning process and inheritance
  • 6. Gu Kaizhi ( 顧愷之 ) from Eastern Jin Dynasty To portray the “essence” of object with reference to the observation of “form” ( 以形寫神 )
  • 7. Tang Dynasty • The spread of Buddhism • The communication between Han Chinese and the ethnical races from tributary states, such as Korea, Turkic Khaganet and Tibet
  • 8. Founder of “Greenish Monumental Landscape Painting” ( 青綠山水 / 金碧山水 ): Li Sixun ( 李思訓 ) The General of the “Left Royal Guard Force” during the reign of Emperor Tang Zhongzong ( 唐中宗 )
  • 9. Li Sixun ( 李思訓 ) “The Pavilion from the River with a Yacht” ( 江帆樓閣 圖 )
  • 10. Zhou Fang ( 周昉 ) “Court Lady Tuning the Lute” ( 簪花仕 女圖 )
  • 11. Song Dynasty • Strengthened the central rule by undermining the provincial military influences • The promotion of “Neo-Confucianism” ( 宋明 理學 , Song Ming Li Xue)
  • 12. Emperor Song Huizhong ( 宋 徽宗 ) Re-formed the “Hanlin Academy of Court Painting” ( 翰林圖畫院 ) and published the “Xuanhe Painting Catologue” ( 宣和畫譜 ) “Xuanhe Style” ( 宣和體 ) or “The Style of Chrominance Accumulation” ( 積色體 ) – Figures with Taoist features still existed in the paintings, but most of the contents being emphasized were flowers and birds. “The Auspicious Cranes” ( 瑞鶴圖 )
  • 13. Emperor Song Huizhong ( 宋徽宗 ) Left: “Hibiscuses with a Splendid Hen” ( 芙蓉錦雞 圖 ) Right: “An Appreciation on the Music from Wooden Qin” ( 聽琴 圖 )
  • 14. Cui Bo ( 崔白 ) “Magpies and Hare” ( 雙喜圖 )
  • 15. Yuan Dynasty • The governance of Mongolians • The emergence of “literati painting”
  • 16. Wang Meng ( 王蒙 ) The grandson of Zhao Mengfu ( 趙孟頫 ) who encountered miseries both in Yuan and Early Ming Dynasty “The Grotto Inside The Forest of Ju District” ( 具區林屋圖 )
  • 17. Ming Dynasty • Revived the conservative classics through a criticism on Cheng Hao, Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi’s “Neo-Confucianism”, as well as a criticism on Lu Jiuyun and Wang Yangming’s “heart-originated” philosophy ( 心學 ) from Song Dynasty • The promotion of “Pragmatic Studies on Universal and Eternal Scriptures” (Jing Shi Zhi Yong Zhi Xue, 經世致用 之學 )
  • 18. Gong Xian ( 龔賢 ) “rationally patterned” ink accumulations (ji mo, 積墨 ) Persistence on the academic ideal of “Donglin Party” and “Fu Society” ( 復社 ), despite of the change of regime from Ming to Qing “The Book Cottage Inside A Pine Forest” ( 松林書屋圖 )
  • 19. Qing Dynasty • Manchurian rule – assimilated with Han Civilization by intensifying the institution of Civic Examinations and the promotion of Confucianist-Buddhist-Taoist thoughts
  • 20. Shi Tao ( 石濤 ) The leisure of ink expression should keep abreast with the trend. Transcended from the concreteness of landscapes. Discovered the mysterious hills for rough sketches Regularities (fa, 法 ) defined by artist himself Left: “Eight Victorious Hills from Huangshan Mountainous Range” ( 黃 山八勝圖之一 ) Right: “Self Portrait of Shi Tao” ( 石濤自畫像 )
  • 21. Republican Era • Abolition of Civic Examination • Introduction of university and academy system for the training of fine artists • May Fourth Movement – aesthetic reformation
  • 22. Xu Beihong ( 徐悲鴻 ) Sheltered by Cai Yuanpei to teach fine arts at Peking University and reform the Chinese painting methodology with an adoption of European oil- painting elements “Where there’s a will, there’s the way” ( 愚公移山 )
  • 23. Xu Beihong ( 徐 悲鴻 ) Left: “The Portraiture of Ranbindranath Tagore” Right: “Galloping Horse”
  • 24. Communist Era • Needed the reconstruction of Chinese cultural heritages after Cultural Revolution, with Leninist school of artistic thought as a guiding code for fine-art academies to train up artists
  • 25. Zhang Daqian ( 張大千 ) Splashed-coloured Landscape
  • 26. Any Catholic influences to Chinese paintings? •Giuseppe Castiglione, an Italian missionary who was appointed by Emperor Kangxi, Emperor Yongzheng and Emperor Qianlong during the Early Qing period
  • 27. Giuseppe Castiglione During the reign of Yongzheng, he helped the Qing Court to design the art and decorative facilities of “Western House” for the expansion of Old Summer Palace “The Qianlong Emperor in Ceremonial Armour on Horseback” ( 乾隆大閱圖 )
  • 28. Giuseppe Castiglione Helped Emperor Qianlong and his 11 princesses to create a painting with all of their portraitures, called “Spiritual Description on Peaceful Rule” ( 心寫 治平 ) “The Eight Horses” ( 八駿圖 )
  • 29. Conclusion: To preserve the traditional “literati-based” aesthetic values despite of exploring creative innovations Adopted from Zhou Jiyin’s publication called “The Theories of Chinese Paintings” ( 周積寅編著之《中國畫論》 ) (1) 機巧 (ji qiao): Planning skills from one’s mind (2) 意冥 (yi ming): A hidden integration between sentiments and artistic conceptions (3) 玄化 (xuan hua): Transformation of the Nature and creatures (4) 靈府 (ling fu): Spirituality from our hearts (5) 衝漠 (chong mo): Tranqulity and a pursuit of voidness (6) 妙理 (miao li): Profound virtues (7) 凝神 (ying shen): Concentration of our spirits on art leisures (8) 遐想 (xia xiang): Fanciful daydreaming (9) 妙悟 (miao wu): Intelligence in sensing and comprehending the virtues
  • 30. THANK YOU Q & A session