The Unruly Style: Traditional Chinese Calligraphy and Painting of Yangzhou Painting School from Long
Zheng Xie, Jin Nong, Li Shan, Huang Shen, Luo Pin, Hua Yan
In the middle of Qing dynasty, due to advantages of salt industry and water transportation of grains, the city of Yangzhou promptly became the most prosperous city in southern China. With salt merchants’ passion and support on art, the painting market was flourished. A group of painters appeared; they possessed similar identities and painted in similar styles. Among of them, there wereformer officials, scholar painters being plebeian for life, and professional painters possessing literary accomplishments. Some of them were aloof from politics and material pursuits; some were individualized and unrestrained; some were born poor and lived in poverty. They came to Yangzhou one after another and devoted themselves to artistic innovations.
From individualized artistic expressions, inclinations of painting the four Gentlemen, bamboo, and rocks to embody pureness and integrity, and proficiencies in utilizing poems and symbols to convey their enthusiasm for life and solicitude for society, people of the time perceived the distinctiveness of the group. The painters inherited freehand brushwork techniques and irregular forms of painting from Xu Wei, Chen Chun, Zhu Da, and Shi Tao, developed freehand brushwork drawings, and audaciously innovated exceptional style that brought significant enlightenments to later generations; they are “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou”.
Compared with Ming and Qing trend focusing on studying and imitating the past, the title of “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou” is not only a denial on non-mainstream painters’ unorthodox manners, but also a praise on their extraordinary style. According to Li Yufen’s Bibliographic Examination of Calligraphy and Painting in OuBoluo’s Room, “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou” are Zheng Xie, Jin Nong, Luo Pin, Li Shan, Huang Shen, Li Fangying, Gao Xiang, and Wang Shishen. In addition, there are also documents considering Gao Fenghan, Hua Yan, Min Zhen, Bian Shoumin as “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou”, which are still ambiguous. In Chinese art history, the group of painters with similar styles of the period is generally considered as the “Yangzhou School Painters”.
Yangzhou wasnot the birth place of “The Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou”; instead, Yangzhou was more like the best artistic stage for “The Eight Eccentrics”. The painters gathered in Yangzhou successively, learnedform each other, and became friends. They ultimately went back to Yangzhou, burnt the glory of life there, and emanated the brilliance of their individuality. The exhibition has not only selected the classical Yangzhou School artworks by Zheng Xie, Jin Nong, Li Shan, Huang Shen, Luo Pin, Hua Yan, and so on, but also specially displayed artworks by Zhu Da, Shi Tao, Zhao Zhiqian, Wu Changshuo, and Qi Baishi, which provides contrasts and sets forth Yangzhou School painters’ significant status in Chinese painting altar, since Qing dynasty, in aspects of inheriting the preceding and enlightening the following.
Ticket: 50RMB/person including all exhibitions (Before 8th Sep,2019)