CASE 3:  Culture and International Relations in the 18th Century


Perspective in Comparison: TRACES

Presented here is a detail from a literati painting of the sixteenth century that is based on the Classical Book of Odes. It shows a mother with her son in the garden, while a brother plays inside the house. The manner of painting the trees brings to mind a specific art historical period and the artist Ma Hezhi (twelfth century), who also painted works based on the Book of Odes. Painting that allows reference to the works of a previous artist allows the artist to place himself in relation to the history of art and reminds the viewer that this is his own, personal approach to this subject, as opposed to a single, universal view.
If you look more closely, you can see that the artist made no attempt to conceal the traces of his brushwork, as would be the norm for European artists trying to produce illusionistic effects at that time. This, too, makes it clear that the artist is making a personal statement and not projecting a universal one. He personally chose a particular style and reveals his idiosyncrasies in his brushwork.

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