Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If Picasso were Chinese

After a swim, on the beach at Golfe-Juan, we are talking about Chinese characters. A Chinese friend is drawing Chinese characters in the sand. Picasso has amused himself before by drawing his own ideograms in the sand: bulls, goats, faces of peace. He is fascinated by the interplay of Chinese characters, the strengths and economy of their construction.
"If I were born Chinese" says he, "I would not be a painter but a writer. I'd write my pictures".

The above text is from the book "Picasso on Art" by Dore Ashton. The original French text came from "L'Amour de la peinture: Goya, Picasso et autres peintres" by Claude Roy.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Interrelationship of calligraphy and painting

From a page at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art web site:
To understand the lack of color in many Chinese landscape paintings, one must fully appreciate the interrelationship of calligraphy and painting.
Calligraphy and painting use the same formats and tools (brush, ink, paper, and silk). The basic methods of handling a brush and ink to create the individual strokes of a Chinese character can also be used to create descriptive lines and textures in painting.
In this hanging scroll, entitled Woods and Valleys of Mount Yu, by the artist Ni Zan (1306–1374), the correspondence between calligraphy and painting becomes apparent.
Ni Zan, using abstract brushstrokes to suggest three-dimensional forms, exploits the tension between surface pattern and the illusion of recession to animate his composition.
To see the detail of this painting, follow this link and click on "Open full-size image".