Lingnan school of painting
2010-September-7 Source: Szdaily web edition
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A painting by Li Xiongcai, a master of the Lingnan school of painting. File photo

One of the major schools of Chinese painting, the Lingnan school of painting did not attain national prominence or a distinctive style until the first part of the 20th century.

It is now considered one of the most influential schools of painting in China.

Lingnan comprises a collective of Guangdong painters, who emphasize life and nature and have created a new Chinese art movement by instigating a synthesis between East and West. The art is abundant in regional style and bright coloring techniques.

The first generation of the school included the "Three Masters of Lingnan," Gao Jianfu, his younger brother Gao Qifeng and Chen Shuren, who did extensive research and practice into traditional painting with southern Chinese characteristics.

The subjects were mostly strong and forceful, including old pines, galloping horses and flying eagles. Technically, the painters sought naturalism, applying both Oriental traditional naivete and West European watercolor painting skills, making their paintings look harmonious, clear and fresh.

Gao Jianfu, then leader of the school, promoted the development of the New National Painting style, reflecting the impending cultural and political changes. He and his followers, most notably Gao Qifeng, combined the local style with elements of Western and Japanese realist painting to create an art that they hoped would be more accessible to the citizenry of China's new republic than the literati painting of the past.

The second generation was represented by Guan Shanyue, Li Xiongcai, Zhao Shaoang and Yang Shanshen, who made breakthroughs in both subject matter and technicality. They are the four leading contemporary Lingnan painters. There is a Guan Shanyue Art Museum in Futian District, Shenzhen.

(By Jane Lai)

Editor: Miranda
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