Subscribe to free Email Newsletter


A brush with storytelling

2014-08-12 16:20:00

(China Daily) By Lin Qi


Young Women Singerby Jin Shangyi is displayed at the "Stories Behind the Faces" exhibition inBeijing. Photos provided toChina Daily

While portraits at a CAFA show offer intimate glimpses of their subjects, they also reveal the evolution of contemporary oil painting in China. Lin Qi reports.

Young Woman Singer, a portrait of Peng Liyuan, attracted much public attention when her husband Xi Jinping became China's president almost three decades after she modeled for painter Jin Shangyi.

Observers delight in talking about Jin's selection of his model from three young woman students of the China Conservatory of Music, but overlook the work's innovative spirit as a representative of the artist's "new classic" practice in the 1980s.

The painting is now displayed as an iconic portrait of Chinese oil painting, at an exhibition called Stories Behind the Faces at the museum of Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts. It displays 18 paintings and seven sketches from the museum's collection to testify how oil painting developed in China in different stages since the early 20th century.

Young Woman Singer shows Jin's solid basis as a painter that he acquired at CAFA.

After the founding of New China in 1949, Chinese oil paintings largely adopted the socialist realistic approach. Promising art students and painters were sent to the former Soviet Union, or attended master's programs at CAFA taught by the Soviet artist Konstantin Maksimov in the 1950s. Jin, then a CAFA student, perfected the techniques of drawing and oil painting at Maksimov's classes.

The EU-China Sculptures Nomination Exhibition opened in Romania Global Chinese language and culture competition ends in Changsha Tuogu Mosque survived Ludian earthquake

1 2 3 4 5



Xianglang Festival held in Gansu


Tibet displays gifts from Dalai, Panchen Lamas to central government


Artisans make Xuan paper in E China's Anhui


15th annual Chinatown festival in Vancouver


Story of ceramic artist Zhang Lingyun


'Pan Da' appear in Shanghai World Financial Center


First Guizhou Penjing Expo opens


Artist wows Shanghai with display of day-time fireworks


Renaissance treasures make debut in Beijing


Nandaihe Lotus Arts Festival opens


Chinese dancer wins first prize in 26th Varna Int’l Ballet Competition


The EU-China Sculptures Nomination Exhibition opened in Romania


Brazilian student Shi Moli won All-Round Championship of the 13th “Chinese Bridge” Competition


Most Beautiful Girl Contest in Chengdu, SW China’s Sichuan province


"Elephant Parade" exhibition held in Hong Kong


Doraemon 'travels' to ancient China in paintings


Fifth Sino-Russia cultural fair held in Heihe


Chinese and German artists co-host the “European Sketching Exhibition” in Berlin