Top

Raro vislumbre de uma obra-prima

2017-09-14 09:21 ChineseTime

Rare glimpse of a masterpiece
Part of A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the lone surviving painting by Song Dynasty artist Wang Ximeng, is among dozens of works to be showcased at the upcoming grand exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History at the Palace Museum in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng is to be exhibited at the Palace Museum. Wang Kaihao reports.

An 18-year-old genius left the world with a work that has had resonance for the past nine centuries. Indisputably, A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains, the only surviving work from Song Dynasty (960-1279) painter Wang Ximeng, is one of the most important in China's fine art history.

The work, together with 85 others, is to be exhibited in Beijing.

The exhibition A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains: Blue-green Landscape Paintings from across Chinese History will open at the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, on Sept 15.

"The blue-green paintings have relatively thick mineral pigments, and are thus difficult to preserve," says Palace Museum researcher Wang Zhongxu, curator of the exhibition.

"It is extremely rare to see a 900-year-old painting intact."

He says the 11-meter-long scroll painting is a record of people's lives and natural scenery at that time, and mixes realism with creative imagination.

In the painting you have mountains, rivers, villages, ports, temples and pavilions, he adds.

"We can also see all kinds of human activities," he says.

"For example, some people are sightseeing, some are in caravans and others are seen living as hermits."

Wang Zhongxu says the details create a grand aura.

"Song Dynasty paintings are renowned for their delicate details," he says. "And this work is an outstanding representative. It's the pinnacle of blue-and-green painting, not only for its technique but also its theme."


Rare glimpse of a masterpiece
Staff members from the Palace Museum arrange the Song Dynasty masterpiece for the exhibition. [Photo by Zhang Wei/China Daily]

For the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, a huge digital version of this painting was projected onto the center of the stadium.

The painter, Wang Ximeng, who was born in 1096, was part of the imperial painting academy of the Song Dynasty. He was tutored by Emperor Huizong, a fine art guru, and handed in this painting at the age of 18.

As for his other achievements, the details are vague. But it is known that he died in his 20s.

The painting was acquired by the Forbidden City during the reign of Qianlong (1735-96).

Meanwhile, for the two displays of the painting in 2009 and 2013, the work was not fully exhibited due to space constraints.

A special exhibition case has been made this time to display it in full, along with the critics' postscript comments.

Referring to the critics' comments, Wang says: "A monk from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) said that he had seen the painting hundreds of times, but found something new each time he viewed it."

According to Wang, blue-green paintings were a very important genre in Chinese landscape painting in the Tang (618-907) and Song dynasties. But this status was lost to ink-and-wash works after literati paintings, which emphasize more subtle and plain emotions, rose in prominence in the Yuan Dynasty.

"The change led people to nurture a stereotype that Chinese paintings are ink and wash," says Wang. "But traditional Chinese paintings were abundant in color as well."

The upcoming exhibition is a bid to promote blue-green paintings and revive the lost position of this genre, says Wang. "This will help people understand Chinese landscape paintings," he says.

The exhibition has five sections, including the origin of blue and green painting in the fourth century, its peak in the Song Dynasty, later developments and finally its absorption of Western techniques.

Rare glimpse of a masterpiece
Staff members from the Palace Museum arrange the Song Dynasty masterpiece for the exhibition. [Photo by Zhang Wei/China Daily]

Among the displayed works is Springtime Jaunt by Zhan Ziqian in the Sui Dynasty (581-618)-believed to be the oldest surviving blue-and-green painting.

Rivers and Mountains in Autumn, another top painting from the Song era, known for its depiction of peaks, is also among the exhibits.

Shan Jixiang, director of the museum, says: "The exhibition is the outcome of research in our museum. We'd like to narrow down our topics and set specific themes. So, the exhibitions reflect our achievements in academic studies."

Earlier, key paintings in the Palace Museum used to be exhibited in rotation, two to three times a year, but there was no specific theme. This old display method was abandoned in 2015.

Now, top paintings in the Palace Museum like A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains are stored for three to four years before being exhibited at least once.

"If people want to see it again, they have to wait," says Shan.

In 2015, when Alongside the River During the Qingming Festival, one of the best-known Chinese paintings, also from the Song Dynasty, was exhibited in the Palace Museum, visitors stood in long lines to see it.

"Long lines are also expected this time," says Shan.

Nevertheless, as a separate exhibition space is set aside for A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains and six other works, the director says things will be better this time.

"Still, we will consider setting a quota for visitors," he says. "But the specific number will depend on the response."

Contact the writer at wangkaihao@chinadaily.com.cn

If you go

8:30 am-5 pm, through Oct 31; 8:30 am-4:30 pm, starting from Nov 1; Mondays closed; through Dec 14 (some exhibits including A Panorama of Rivers and Mountains will be replaced after Oct 30). Meridian Gate (Wumen) Gallery, the Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Dongcheng district, Beijing. Visit www.dpm.org.cn for more information.

Our new members

OR

Scan now
Responsive image
Tags

Artigos Relacionados