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Title: "Xu Beihong: Chinese-ink painting as a nationalistic propaganda of enforcing China for political and ideological changes"
Xu Beihong (徐悲鴻) was active with his creativity throughout the Republican Period. Before his 30-year-old age, Xu Beihong endeavored with a combinative research on modern art theories and Sino-Western comparative aesthetics. The term “nationalistic propaganda” from my research topic highlighted the fact that, Xu Beihong bore a sense of responsibility to checkmate the prosperity and decline of our racial art tradition. Despite the non-secular persistence of literati painters, Xu made a breakthrough to transform the function of Chinese-ink painting as a promotional asset of spreading the benevolent, righteous and virtuous mode of self-managerial thoughts, so called “zhi xue” in Chinese.
The ultimate goal of research is to interpret Xu Beihong’s nationalistic aspirations based on a series of his narrative themes related to the human-based spirits of Chinese compatriots. And, for sure, the reason for Xu Beihong to develop such uniqueness is that, he is so eager to bring about ideological and philosophical changes for the intellectual field. It is necessary for us to associate Xu Beihong’s reformative spirits with the enlightenment trends of May Fourth Movement in a historical approach. Xu Beihong’s aesthetic investigation accommodated the emerging trend of Lingnan Art Fraction, as the Chinese-ink painting did experience a change of functionality. To Xu Beihong’s socialist-based opinions, Chinese-ink paintings were no longer the extravagant court items owned by monarchical rulers. He hoped that this creativity returned to a peculiar essence in which people from different social hierarchies were qualified to perceive the art contexts and raise particular kinds of individual thoughts on universal phenomenon.
For the second point of emphasis, Xu Beihong acknowledged the open-mindedness of Western education thoughts, thus he greatly encouraged the current art masters to tolerate a re-modification of painting methodologies. Painters could spend their adolescence on a consolidation of craftsmanship and description techniques, then their Masters should guide them to seek alternative ways for a development of unique art styles.
For the third point of emphasis, it is advised to explore the implications from the messages delivered by Xu Beihong’s art, as we all know that, he was good at boosting up the morale of Chinese art lovers to participate, cherish and support the anti-Japanese defense. Through some iconographical and narrative contents as metaphors, Xu Beihong silently highlighted his critical reflection on the corruption and disunity of Kuomingtang governance.