How to Read Chinese Paintings

Maxwell K. Hearn’s How to Read Chinese Paintings (2008, Yale University Press) uses numerous paintings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to share the genre of scholar-official painting that many Westerners have enjoyed viewing without always knowing their symbolism. Subjects such as horses, bamboo, pine trees, and landscape paintings are familiar subjects yet their symbolism can invoke correct treatment of scholar-officials, resilience, loyalty and Taoism among others. Hearn writes that the Chinese words du hua, meaning “to read a painting,” typify the Chinese approach to unraveling the work of scholar-official painters. Continue reading “How to Read Chinese Paintings”

Modern Art Paintings

Modern art can be defined as the response or reaction of the creative world to the rationalist way of living and ideas proposed by the industrial age and technological revolution. This pushed the creative artists to pursue their interests towards the modern world through their paintings. Artists only know to express their feelings through painting and modern art was born. Even though modern art is a generic term that can be applied to various artistic genres, in general, it is the artist’s intent to depict a subject he sees in the real world according to his perception. Continue reading “Modern Art Paintings”

Turning William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 127 Into a Painting by Description

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 127 commences the beginning of the so-called Dark Lady cycle. While the description of physical attributes and the imagery related to the Dark Lady certain indicate that these poems are intended to be read as being addressed to an actual figure, it is also clear from the ambivalence that the author feels towards her that the Dark Lady should also be considered a metaphor for something larger. The Dark Lady can quite readily be considered a symbol of sexual lust that is meant to stand in direct contrast to the beautiful love expressed in the earlier sonnets. Because Shakespeare often expresses regret at the feeling passion for the Dark Lady and because he sometimes even denigrates her beauty, it is easy to see how this cycle can be read as a contemplation on the often hypocritical emotions attached to raw sexual passion. Continue reading “Turning William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 127 Into a Painting by Description”