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Guo Xi - Early Spring

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Early Spring
Guo Xi (China, ca.1020–1090)
ca.1070 a.c.
Ink and color on silk, 158.3 x 108.1 cm (62.32 × 42.56 in)
National Palace Museum, Beijing





Guo Xi is one of the leading cultural figures from the Song Dynasty period. Born and raised in the Henan province, Xi was a highly educated man, a scholar-official, a theoretician of painting whose essay titled “The Lofty Message of Forest and Streams” influenced many generations of Chinese painters. And above all, he was an outstanding painter, author of works such as "Deep Valley", "Autumn in the River Valley" or the wonderful "Early Spring" illustrated here.

"Early Spring" is the quintessence of Song Dynasty landscape painting. Unlike Fan Kuan’s "Travellers amid Mountains and Streams" (see previous work), this work is not impressive for its scale but for its complex composition and its richness in details. Xi developed an innovative technique, called "Floating Perspective” or "Angle of the Totality", with which the artist was able to represent multiple perspectives within a single painting. This is an exceptional advance that did not appear in Western painting until many centuries later.

Xi was also a meticulous draftsman, which is reflected in the detailed rendering of the trees and the temple located below the small waterfall on the right side of the silk. Although difficult to see at first glance, there are several human figures in the painting, such as the group of travelers going to the temple or the peasants and fishermen on the bottom of the painting.

Gabriel Fernández - theartwolf.com

Guo Xi - Autumn in the River Valley

"Autumn in the River Valley" is another stunning example of Guo Xi's talent for landscape painting



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