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wong tsz mei Art Blog

The Exact Discipline Germinates the Seemingly Easiness(part 2)------striking a deep chord in the reality of nature

by tszmei , April 7, 2011—02:02 AM

Topics: Emperor Hui Tsung, the Royal Art Academy

By veiwing the works from the imperial academy of Song dynasty(960-1127),the unity of all the ingredients in the paintings being so elegant and quiet,we easily take for granted that the expressive methods are as simple and leisure as what we have seen.On the contrary,it is a struggle of reaching the peak of perfection and then at the summit of success reverts to the relaxation of calm and serenity. At that moment,the bright and dazzling splendour turns into sunshine and fresh air making the atmosphere so warm and charming that we are carried away and we ignore this plain style is an enormous achievement with great sense of dedication and commitment.Of course,these court painters gained full support of the emperor could be an advantage,but the patronage of emperor Hui Tsung (reigned 1101-1126) is not only that he was a most competent painter himself and was partial to the styles which he loved the best.Emperor Hui Tsung understood that it was the critical moment of the development of national painting. He knew well of the trends at that time and deployed all the forces of his enthusiams with the enforcement of strong administrative measures as to cultivate the court painters,to improve them to be the literate artists.So at that time, to get into the Royal Art Academy was not by dint of playing up to those in power,but had to went through the screening test of the Academy.Furthermore,the admitted candidates had to participate the training courses of the Academy.Therefore, although the court painter were highly skilled,the Emperor still demanded them to get improvements progressively.

On one occation,the construction of a new palace had completed,and the count painters were painting on the walls and on the screens as the interior decoration.What being painted were all beautiful artworks but which was not very much appreciated by the emperor.Only a work piece named___Slanting Branches of Chinese roses___by a young artist was praised by Hui Tsung,and he was granted a handsome reward.The rewarded painting represented the blossoming roses with the particular comfiguration of petals,leaves,pistils and sepals to reveal that the time of blooming was exactly at noon without the slightest error.With keen observation,the artist could grasp the characteristics of Chinese rose,for the look of it is not the same in four seasons and it has subtle change in one day. Sometimes,during the visit to the new palace where had newly painted murals,if the emperor found that some paintings on the walls could not reach a higher standard of accomplishments,he would give orders to smear the murals and asked the artists to reconstruct them.

In order to attain to the demanding requirements,the court artists were driven to develop the scrupulous attentions to reality,and at the same time they had to interpret the reality of nature with subtle feeling for nuance.In the meantime,their experienced hands would become more and more dexterous.This style of slow reflective manner which was very elaborate and relied on a meticulous description of the subject compounded with a miniaturist__™s treatment of detail was by no means exemplified some flawed probables such as the rigidity of configurations or to stifle the vigorous imaginations of individual artists.It is because whether the court painters open or close their eyes to the outside world,they do not draw a single line,nor execute a single brush-stroke without striking a deep chord in the reality of nature,drawing the strength of their expressions from the earth itself. The scroll here illustrates the delicacy and intricacy of such style in which a basket of flowers is easily recognizable;for there is life in the colors and lines,so the assorted flowers seems to be plucked from different bushes and were placed in the basket just a moment ago.Now the fleshness of nature is preserved for us to savour and it had been prepared by the experienced hands almost one thousand year ago.



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