Escapism Through the Landscape: The Evolution of Chinese Landscape Painting

This presentation is a report of an art historical analysis on Chinese Landscape Painting with emphasis given to iconographic analysis. The purpose of the research was to determine how Chinese Landscape Painting has evolved since its inception by viewing works from different periods in Chinese history. In examining these works, it became possible to determine a pattern among the works: the artists utilize escapist imagery to express the desire to leave their current lives in favor of finding peace among natural scenes. Whether it is the rulers of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties or the Cultural Revolution instituted by Mao Zedong, I have determined that one function of Chinese Landscape Painting is to allow the artist a level of escapism to mask the deeper stress and tension that pervaded their daily lives.

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  • Paper Presentation
  • Art History
  • This presentation examines the ways in which some Chinese landscape painting techniques informed the techniques of contemporary Chinese landscape painters. The works being discussed relate to escapism with Chinese history serving as the context for the discussion.

2 thoughts on “Escapism Through the Landscape: The Evolution of Chinese Landscape Painting”

  1. I really enjoyed your presentation, Brandon! Reclusion in Chinese art is a fascinating topic, and I found your personal take on it very interesting. I would be curious to know what sources you found most useful in your research. Congratulations on your presentation!


    Wow! this was such an informative presentation. I have never been to China, but the photographs that you shared to represent their landscape art are so beautiful. I can feel the peaceful energy through the photos themselves. One of my favorite photos that you shared in this presentation is “Dwelling Amid Waters and Forests” by Fu Baoshi, 1932. I love the little hut within the forest right beneath a huge flowing waterfall. If I could place myself in the picture the calming sound of the waterfall would create that peaceful mindset for me. I also like Boashi’s idea to include red in his later artwork, especially the one with the red sun! It was really cool how they created texture to their paintings as well with techniques in paintings such as “Europe After the Rain”. Throughout this presentation you have definitely captured the beauty of China’s natural settings through the artwork that represents their desire to live in peace and solitude. Again what a wonderful presentation I loved the unique topic you chose to research and present!
    Caitlin Tyree

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