Art@Site artist unkown Waterfalls in Summer Mountains

unkown artist


Waterfalls in Summer Mountains

Three large tile murals executed in Hong Kong appear like hanging scrolls on the building's facade.
The mural on the viewer's left, designed in the style of a Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) landscape ink drawing, is described in the Chinese inscription as "Picture of Viewing Waterfalls in Summer Mountains."
The center mural, identified as "Palace in Heaven", depicts a scene about the monkey king from the long 14th century episodic tale Hsi-yu chi, The Journey to the West.
The colorful mural on the viewer's right, "Four Beauties Catching Swimming Fish", is in a style from southern China.
Landscape has been the dominant subject in Chinese painting ever since it emerged as the pre-eminent art form of the Northern Sung period (960–1127).
Developing during the war-filled years of the tenth century, Northern Sung landscape painting produced timeless images that were followed and imitated for centuries. This art reached its apogee in the third quarter of the eleventh century. After the fall of the Northern Sung, it continued to be popular in the north, both under the Chin tartar and then the Mongol rule during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Meantime the painters of the Southern Sung (1127–1276), south of the Yangtze River, developed a simplified style that described the softer landscapes of the south.
As one attempts to date the many works in the Yen Wen-kuei tradition, it is necessary to keep in mind the following: When a painter works in the manner of an older master, he first adopts the characteristic brushwork idioms, the form elements, and the compositional motifs. But in expanding his interpretation and giving it new articulation, he necessarily deviates from the original and makes subtle changes. In short, the later painter shows in his work not the real earlier master but a transformed image of him. These changes are not "slips of hand" or "misunderstandings"; instead, they are positive signs of the later painter's own style. Even a more or less mechanical copy, which, in the absence of the original work may be historically useful in reconstructing it, inevitably reveals something of its own time.
In shan shui paintings, there are three basic elements that make up a painting: Mountains, rivers, and on occasion, waterfalls. Hence the Chinese name shan shui ("Mountain-water") for landscape art!
Mountains are the "heart" of a Chinese landscape painting. They are the center point of a vast landscape, usually jutting upward toward Heaven. Or they are a steep green monolith covered with craggy rocks and ridges. Behind these surreal landscapes is a very deep, philosophical meaning. Furthermore, they are a product of the artist's imagination. The landscape surrounding the mountain entices the viewer to partake in its beauty and contemplate the meaning of the mountain - or sometimes, the vast emptiness surrounding it. The fog surrounding the mountain is the "spiritual void" we must fill by contemplating the painting.
According to traditional Chinese beliefs, mountains are considered sacred. They are the places where the immortals reside and are very close to Heaven, both physically and spiritually. This belief is reflected very strongly in many of these paintings.
In most landscape paintings, rivers and pathways dot the landscape. They streak across the landscape, point the viewer straight to the mountain, and add a sense of balance to the painting. Often they'll streak up or down the mountain itself and add to the painting's beauty or surrealism.
Sometimes, while the mountain may be the center, the true "heart and soul" of the painting may be another object entirely, such as the moon or stars. They give an element of distance to the painting and emphasize the feeling of vastness or solitude.
Other elements in shan shui paintings include rocks, trees, buildings (i.e. houses and temples), the sun and moon, fishing boats, and people. They are all part of the vast landscape. Also on many shan shui paintings are poems known as Shanshui poetry (山水诗). Shanshui poems complement the painting and explain it. Many of these poems reflect the connotation with Heaven and the meaning is very clear.
Chinese landscape paintings are strongly influenced by Taoist (Daoist) and Buddhist philosophy. The vast landscapes in these paintings represent the vastness of the universe. One tiny person in the midst of these landscapes is as small as we are in the vast cosmos.
Many critics consider landscape to be the highest form of Chinese painting. Early landscape first appeared as part of figure painting, providing the natural setting for story narration. One of the earliest examples is Nymph of the Luo River by Gu Kaizhi (ca.344–406).
By the beginning of the Tang dynasty (618–907), the tradition of landscape painting had advanced little, partly because of the ever-increasing demand for Buddhist icons and partly because artists were still struggling with the most elementary problems of space and depth. But during the Tang dynasty these difficulties were mastered. According to later Chinese art critics and historians, two schools of landscape painting emerged during the Tang dynasty. They often used mineral colors blue and green for decoration, so their genre of painting is known as blue-green landscape.
By the late Tang dynasty, landscape painting often embodied the universal longing of cultivated men to escape their quotidian world to commune with nature. As the Tang dynasty disintegrated, the concept of withdrawal into the natural world became a major thematic focus of poets and painters.
The time from the Five Dynasties period (907–960) to the Northern Song period (960–1127) is known as the “Great age of Chinese landscape”. In the north, artists such as Jing Hao (荊浩, ca. 880–940), Guan Tong (關仝, fl. mid 10th c.), Li Cheng (李成, 919–967), Fan Kuan (范寬) and Guo Xi (郭熙) painted pictures of towering mountains, using strong black lines, ink wash, and sharp, dotted brushstrokes to suggest rough stone.
After the invasion by the Jurchens, the Song court fled to the south. The classic northern tradition was transformed and transmitted to the Southern Song by Li Tang (李唐), who is credited with a monumental style based on the “ax-cut texture stroke (斧劈皴, fupi cun).”
The tradition of Dong Yuan lived in the farther south. Landscapes of more subtle expression appeared; immeasurable distances were conveyed through the use of blurred outlines, mountain contours disappearing into the mist, and impressionistic treatment of natural phenomena.
Under the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), when many educated Chinese were barred from government service, the model of the Song literati retreat evolved into a full-blown alternative culture as this disenfranchised elite transformed their estates into sites for literary gatherings and other cultural pursuits.
During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), when native Chinese rule was restored, court artists led by Dai Jin (戴進) produced conservative images that revived the Song metaphor for the state as a well-ordered imperial garden, while literati painters pursued self-expressive goals through the stylistic language of Yuan scholar-artists.