Painting is a significant part of cultural heritage in China, taking not just inspiration from the natural world, but also from literature and writing. Yet for those unfamiliar with Chinese literary epics and writings, these meanings are often lost.
In this lecture Dr Malcolm McNeill, Chinese Paintings Specialist at Christie’s auction house, de-mystified the link between art and literature in Chinese painting, unravelling the meaning behind common motifs used by artists, and the stories behind some of the most frequently depicted scenes. He also explained how in Chinese artistic tradition, words and pictures are interlinked, with artists often incorporating painting and calligraphy together in a single piece.
Using examples, Dr McNeill gave the audience an insight into the poetry, literature and famous historical events that continue to inspire artists working in China today.