Now if you have studied Chinese Art History, you must definitely be familiar with the works of Xie He. This iconic 5th century Chinese Artist/Writer/Historian/Poet went on to produce a series of paintings that would be hailed as the glorious triumph of Chinese Creativity in times to come. He postulated the following elements of defining a painting. Let’s take a look at all 6 of them now!
- Vitality- Xie He thought much ahead of his times, and stressed on the theory that the dynamic flow of energy in a painting. The reason why his paintings and those of his successors have been hailed in unison by the community of art-patrons is that they are brimming with creative energy, and possess that characteristic, mesmerizing element.
- Interlinking Calligraphy and Paintings- This brilliant artist wrote about the subtle, yet spectacular similarities between the brush usage patterns and brush strokes of calligraphy and that of painting. He believed that one who had learnt and excelled in Calligraphy, would automatically excel at painting without the need for much formal training, and vice versa.
- Object- The artist has to keenly study the shape and size of the object in question, so that the art form depicting the same would be of the highest precision. He said that this was relevant to living beings as well as inanimate objects.
- Division and Planning- On the portrait, before one starts to paint, it is important to mentally allocate the space available. Only then can one go about creating a masterpiece that stands above all.
- Suitability Study- The color palette, intensity, combination, brush type and base material used, should all be studied beforehand for their overall suitability to the piece of art that is being created. Of course, this might seem to be a tad obvious, but back then these theories were the building blocks of an artist’s guidelines that painters and artists over generations would use.
- Copying was actually considered amongst the 6 foundational elements of painting, and taking inspiration from earlier works of art, was actually recommended back then, instead of being considered as plagiarism. Of course, it goes without saying that one could never replicate the exact same painting, but making a few changes over and above an established work of art, was certainly considered legitimate.