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Xu Beihong: pioneer of Chinese Realistic Painting?

About the author

Sciences Po...

About the document

Published date
documents in English
9 pages
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  1. introduction
  2. Xu Beihong: A reform of Chinese painting towards more realism
    1. The political and social context of the Republican period
    2. The influence of Western art
    3. The emergence of a new doctrine of radical modernisation
  3. The revolutionary synthesis of Xu Beihong
    1. Xu Beihong's paintings back China
  4. Recognizing Xu Beihong as the pioneer of Chinese realistic painting
  5. Conclusion
  6. Illustrations
  7. Bibliography

Xu Beihong (1895-1953) was a native of Yixing in Jiangsu Province. His father, from whom he learned painting in his childhood, was also a painter. At the age of 20, Xu went to Shanghai to sell his paintings. In 1918, at the invitation of Cai Yuanpei, he went to Peking University to work as an instructor at the Painting Research Society and started to learn Western artistic skills there. The next year, as many of his counterparts, he went to Europe to study Western art: he arrived in Paris then moved to Berlin and Belgium.
Back in China a decade later, he provided his own synthesis of Eastern and Western arts based on Western classical realist painting so as to regenerate Chinese painting. As that time as nowadays, people tend to see him as the pioneer of Chinese realist painting: does he really deserve this title or is it rather a simplification?

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