Oriental landscape painting development

In the previous post we discussed the key concepts of the oriental landscape arts, how it is very much linked to our perception of the world around us; how it is a reflection of the relationship between us and nature. In this post let us dive a bit into history and briefly talk about its origin and development.

Rhapsody on Goddess of Luo, Eastern Jin Dynasty, Gu Kai Zhi

The landscape painting in the Eastern world has long and extensive history. However the very first landscape paintings are no longer available to us, the earliest copies that we can see today are from the legendary master, Gu Kai Zhi, in at least 2 of his surviving master pieces there were the landscape added to the backgrounds of the story (see the painting above). Even though serving as backgrounds, the mountains, water, forests, birds and beasts have been displayed in their entirety and vividly. During this time the landscapes were very much attached to the figure painting.

Spring Landscape, Zhan Zi Qian, Sui Dynasty

The Sui and Tang Dynasties saw the most prosperous evolution of the oriental landscape painting. Zhan Zi Qian was a leading artist from this period, and today we are still able to see his only remaining work (see the painting above). This artwork focuses on the landscape, it displayed a Spring time where people are coming out to enjoy the blooming world. He also led the trend of the green-blue style of painting.

In the Tang Dynasty the grey scale landscape received ample development. Literati scholars enjoyed this style a great deal by adding calligraphy into the painting, making the artworks poetic, creating the atmosphere where there is painting in poetry and poetry in painting.

Snow Landscape, Wang Wei, Tang Dynasty

The brief chaotic period between Tang and Song Dynasties until the Song Dynasty pushed the oriental landscape painting to its peak, the Northern and Southern styles were formed, various schools of the painting styles were established. Especially in the Southern school because of the typical Southern climate, in paintings we start to see a great number of misty scenes that we love so much today. This glorious height continued and was further developed well into the Yuan and Ming Dynasties, where a great number of landscape artists created many legacies that we treasure today.

Snow Landscape, Fiona Sheng

In our many previous courses of the landscape painting exploration, we have been taking it one step at a time, and in each course we focused on one or a few of the said aspects, but now you are ready for more, so in this Snow Landscape Course:

  • We will discuss and focus on the usage of the 5 shades of ink
  • You will learn about the 2 main ways of painting snow
  • There will be a discussion about perspectives
  • You will learn to paint a vertical landscape as shown, step by step

If you have taken the other landscape courses including the round and rather small scale summer landscape, the tree painting, and the landscape scenery courses, then you are definitely ready for this step, which will further advance your understanding and skills in the oriental landscape painting. If you have not taken any of the other courses yet, not to worry, enjoy this snowy scenery, and you can always retrace your steps and develop your abilities in the other aspects in depth slowly.

This week the snow landscape course will come and greet you, look forward to having you there!

Enjoy such cultural discussions? Have comments? I look forward to hearing from you!

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