Traditionally the Chinese painting is called brush painting due to its unique painting materials. It can be classified into three main categories: landscape painting, bird and flower painting and figure painting. Technically, Chinese painting can be divided into traditional Chinese realistic painting and monochrome abbreviated ink work. Landscape painting is the major theme of Chinese paintingin in china, it origins from the Eastern Jin Dynasty, which is 1600 years ago. In china, landscape painting is called “Shan Shui”, which means mountain and river (Shaw 1988). Usually the purpose of Chinese landscape painting is not only represent the exact appearance of nature, but also reflects the painter’s feelings and emotions to the landscape and his philosophy of life (Turner 2009). The drawing materials are including writing brush, ink and the rice paper (a kind of soft paper that suitable for Chinese painting and calligraphy).

“Typically, Chinese painting is created using ink brush, ink stick, ink stone and Xuan paper. Chinese artists have long exploited the richness of ink brushes in a variety of styles, as a result, techniques of using brush and ink to produce more expressive brush strokes conveying the mood, feeling and emotions have become the core concern in Chinese painting.” (Jinhui, Guoming & Qunsheng n.d., p.1)

Figure 1: Xu Fei, Water Village, 2009

In contrast, western painting originated from ancient Greece and Rome and its development was contemporaneous with other art forms such as music, dance and sculpture. The contents that western paintings portrayed were closely associated with people’s daily life. Oil painting is the main type of western painting. Painters usually draw contents on cloth, board, canvas or thick paper with oily pigments. The characteristic of oil painting is the rich of colour that has a strong artistic expression and can express the realistic sense of the objects. In addition, the aesthetic taste of western painting focuses on the authenticity and aesthetics of the painting objects. In order to achieve a real art effect, western painters pay much attention to the proportion, light and shade, perspective, anatomy and chroma of the painting. In the 16th century, landscape painting as an individual type of painting appears in Europe, after the Renaissance. And then it has a great development. According to the style, western landscape painting can be classified into emblematic, empiricist, naturalistic and fantastic.

Figure 2: George Inness, The Lackawanna Valley, 1856

Both of Chinese and western landscape paintings are affected by different politics, religion and culture so that they formulated their own form of expression and aesthetic characteristics. This website will examine the differences between each painting through comparing the characteristics and reviewing the related journal articles.


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