Chinese classical painting (part 1)
The painting of China, which flourished in the Middle Ages – the 4th – 19th centuries AD – did not accidentally take a place of honor in world art history. In this area of artistic culture, Chinese masters managed to leave a particularly vivid mark. With extraordinary persuasion, they embodied the beauty of nature, the idea of harmony and greatness of the universe. They invested not only personal moods in scroll paintings, but also wisdom that was clear to future generations.
The charm of old Chinese painting is in the depths of poetic penetration into the life of nature. This art tells about the changing seasons, gives the viewer the opportunity to look into the world of forest thickets, introduces him to the eternal secrets of the earth. Here you can find something in tune with our time. The paintings of the artists Wang Wei, Xu Daoning, Guo Xi, made more than 9-12 centuries ago, make us now experience emotional excitement.
Any ancient art, giving joy from its contemplation, requires aesthetic experience, preparedness. Created in distant times, it has carried through ancient centuries ancient techniques, symbolic representations. The form of Chinese paintings, deprived of a frame, composition, and performance techniques are unusual for Europeans, from whom the oil painting technique has long been widely used. In the color harmony of things, in the wave-like rhythmic structure, deliberate incompleteness, in the repeatability of plots, the viewer feels a hidden meaning that he cannot immediately solve. Painting is both simple and complex, requiring implantation in its images.
The most characteristic feature of medieval Chinese art is the desire to comprehend through private the universal laws of the world, to see phenomena in their relationship. In the Chinese painting, the detail deserved the attention of the master only insofar as it made it possible to understand the universal. So, a branch of a blossoming plum tree gave birth to imaginations of images of spring. Buffalo, wandering heavily through the snowy plain, personified winter. And the lonely bird, crested on a bare branch, is autumn homelessness. Observing nature closely, the artist at the same time never worked directly from nature. He created a kind of artistic design based on certain elements of the image.
Their basis was the unusual appearance of the work. A Chinese scroll painting, usually executed on silk or paper, is unlike a European painting. It is rather a pictorial poem or story, read like a manuscript. Already in the early Middle Ages two main forms of scrolls took shape. Vertical – when the scroll was deployed and hung on the wall, and horizontal – when it was unfolding in the hands as it was viewed. Vertical images usually did not exceed three meters, and horizontal, combining a series of landscapes, genre scenes, urban views, sometimes reached several tens of meters. Each of the two forms of scrolls made it possible for masters to depict the world in all its diversity. Patiently unfolding a horizontal roll in his hands, the viewer seemed to read a long travel book – in front of him stood cities, palaces, temples, camel caravans, mountain passes and valleys. In the wall scrolls, on the contrary, the whole expanse of the universe was revealed. They expressed a deep philosophical meaning.