Sunday Group Update – February

We met on a rather chilly grey day and compared where those who remembered to bring their Xian Xuan landscapes had got to. It was a rather magnificent attempt all round. This is what we have at the moment.

It was generally agreed that tackling something that you had never tried before had been challenging but fun and it was agreed that we would look for another Artist’s work that offered the same opportunities. 

This month we were looking at the work of Ming Dynasty artists – including both formal paintings and sketches by Shen Zhou, Wen Zhenming, Wu Wei and Da Jin. All of the examples are works in progress. 

In the Ming Dynasty a ruling Chinese Emperor was restored to power and with this change came a return to Confucianism and the re-establishment of Court art and court artists. This now gave China two art streams that developed in parallel – the Court / Professional artists and the literati / scholar artists. The Ming court – currently also referred to as the Bling court because of its devotion to gold and decoration – was a major supporter and sponsor of professional artists and attempts were made to re-establish the artistic and cultural supremacy of China’s past, specifically the style of the Song. There was a big move towards figure painting (including erotic) and flower and bird painting where extensive colour and decoration were possible. Literati art declined without court support, however, the Wu school, founded by  Shen Zhou, flourished during the Ming and maintained the newer landscape traditions. There was still no dry brush lines for texture – everything is a line.