In his essay 'The Value of Literati Painting' published in 1922. Chen Hengke (1876-1923, courtesy name Shizeng) put forward the requirement of literati tastes and thoughts in Chinese literati paintings, wherein the painter’s character, knowledge, talent and thoughts constitute the four main essences. He emphasised that 'painting, as a thing in itself, is a spiritual being, a thinking being, and an active being'; that art 'portrays the spirit, expresses character and thoughts.' In other words, painting as a thing is both the channel and output of knowledge production, the painter's subjective creation, and carries with it the painter's sensibilities and thoughts. Further expounding on the definition of literati painting, Arthur Mu-sen Kao believes that literati paintings are not necessarily made by the literati, nor are they solely made for leisure and pleasure. He summarises the fundamental spirit of literati painting into simplicity, nature, and personality: 'ln terms of form, simplicity is the rule; in terms of subject matter, nature; in terms of attitude, the expression of personality.' Literati painting is regarded as 'ink play' that demonstrates the painter's personality and painting style. Following generations of inheritance and innovation, traditional Chinese painting is represented by multifarious schools. By the end of the 19th century, on top of the influence and impact brought about by Japanese and Western paintings, Chinese painting was further challenged and transformed by the ensuing social changes and global modernization. As pointed out by Kao, painters in the 20th century were no longer literati of the traditional Chinese society. However, calligraphy and painting connoisseurs still adhered to the literati ideals of simplicity and blandness. In terms of subject matter, nature in landscape painting was still favoured by painters. Taking 20th-century paintings of 'Sensing Things' as examples, this essay explores how painters approached the subject of landscape and their perception of landscape and representation of nature.
|Original language||Multiple languages|
|Title of host publication||感物 = Sensing Things|
|Editors|| 何翠芬, 陳芳芳, 唐啓翔|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2023|