Landscape Painting & Northern Song.

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Landscape Painting & Northern Song

 

Landscape Painting & Northern Song
After the fall of the Tang Dynasty in 906, China once again descended into a long period of social anarchy. Yet it was this time of social and political turmoil that witnessed one of the supreme artistic expressions of Chinese civilization.
Toward the end of the Tang Dynasty, in the late ninth and early tenth century, scholars retreated to the mountains, living in hermitages or in Buddhist temples. In their seclusion, they discovered in nature that moral order they had found missing in the human world, and as an expression of their newfound faith, they turned to the depiction of monumental landscape, a symbolic, cosmic vision of man's harmonious existence in a vast but orderly universe.
During the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), the spirit of the recluse painters was absorbed by the professional court painters and projected into a heroic vision of a timeless, archetypal landscape. Monumental landscape painting flourished for more than one hundred years from the late tenth through the early twelfth century.
Referred to as the painting of mountains and waters (Shan - Shui Hua), landscape motifs of trees, mountains, and water first appeared in ancient Chinese art as background elements in figural representations. After the breakup of the Han empire, during the fourth and fifth centuries, the influence of Taoism and Buddhism led poets and painters to turn to landscape for spiritual solace. The narrative pictures of cities and of scholars' gardens, which developed during the Tang Dynasty, were part illustrated map and part genre painting. These early landscapes were illustrative and narrowly focused; they did not approach the monumentality and transcendence achieved by the early Northern Song painters, who, with their vision and the conviction of their belief, created a landscape of truth; landscape of emotion; landscape of realism.
Content Courtesy : students.itec.sfsu.edu
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Landscape Painting & Northern Song.