The Chinese often use the expression du hua, “to read a painting,” in connection with their study and appreciation of such works. This volume closely “reads” thirty-six masterpieces of Chinese painting from the encyclopedic collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in order to reveal the major characteristics and themes of this rich pictorial tradition. The book examines multiple layers of meaningstyle, technique, symbolism, past traditions, and the artist’s personal circumstancesthrough accessible texts and numerous large color details. A dynastic chronology, map, and list of further readings supplement the text.
Spanning a thousand years of Chinese art, these landscapes, flowers, birds, figures, religious subjects, and calligraphies illuminate the main goal of every Chinese artist: to capture not only the outer appearance of a subject but also its inner essence.
About the Author
Maxwell K. Hearn is Douglas Dillon Curator, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Originally I simply wanted to look at the various Chinese paintings. I was so captivated by the beauty of the artwork that I started to read about what the painting actually represented and the political and social representations of the art. Really enjoyed the book.