Monday, June 1, 2015

Chinese Painting principles applied to your visual media

The Six Principles of Chinese Painting

In the 6th century CE, Chinese art historian and critic Xie He devised a set of rules for analysing and critiquing art. In order, they are:

1. Spirit Resonance

Spirit Resonance, also known as Chi or Energy - This is by far the most important of the rules, but it is also the most difficult to define. Spirit Resonance is the energy that flows from the painter to the brush - it is the vitality or life that seems to take over a work of art and propel it into the imagination of the viewer. Xie He said that if the painting has no Spirit Resonance, there is no need to look further. [Pictured here is the 13th century C.E. art piece Nine Dragons by painter Chen Rong.]

2. Bone Structure/Method
Bone Structure/Method - This refers to the way the painter uses the brush. It is the line work used by the painter, as well as the personal style or handwriting of the painter. In Xie He’s day, calligraphy was inseparable from painting, so Bone Structure also refers to the calligraphy of the painter. [Pictured here is a section of the 4th century C.E. piece Intelligent Ladies by Gu Kaizhi.]

 3.Correspondence to the Object
Correspondence to the Object - A relatively simple rule, this means that the subject of the painting must look like what it is trying to represent. A person in a painting should resemble a person in real life, a tree should resemble a tree, etc. [Pictured here is Peaches and a Dove, by Emperor Huizong in the 12th century C.E. The painting is an example of the literal style of Chinese painting, a style marked by intense correspondence to the object.]

4. Suitability to Type Regarding Colour
Suitability to Type Regarding Colour - The choice of colour for the piece must be appropriate for what the piece is trying to convey. This includes the layering of colour as well as the tone and value of the piece. A piece does not necessarily have to have colour or have realistic colour. Rather, the choice of colour simply needs to be appropriate. [Pictured here is a detailed image of a larger painting, Grand Scenery, by Song Dynasty artist Wang Xi. Notice that the blues and greens of the painting are more fantasy than reality, but they are an appropriate choice as they emphasize the height, distance, and coldness of the mountains.]

5. Division and Planning (Composition)
Division and Planning (Composition) - Division and Planning refers to the way in which objects are arranged the space of the painting. The placement of objects in a painting should give some sense of depth, or the object’s relationship to one another. The size and placement of the objects can also give a sense of the hierarchical nature of a piece (larger objects in the centre of the piece are more important than smaller objects to the side). [Pictured here is Six Persimmons, a piece by 13th century artist Mu Qi. Six Persimmons is an example of the spontaneous style, and despite its simplicity it is considered one of the most important works of Chinese art of all time, mostly due to the arrangement of objects in space.]

6. Transmission by Copying
Transmission by Copying - Artists should copy from real life and older works. In Chinese tradition, motifs and styles are repeated from years past, and it is considered honourable to seek inspiration from past works. Artists often seek to emulate the styles of old masters, an example of the Chinese taste for archaism. [Pictured above is another work of Gu Kaizhi! It’s a section of the handscroll entitled Admonitions of the Intructress to the Court Ladies.]

This post has been reposted from:
This is an interesting and educated blog that can give you much more insight into Asian Art, if you would like to find out more.

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