Xu Beihong – one of China’s most important modern painters

xu beihong

Xu Beihong (徐悲鸿) (1895-1953) was one of the most influential Chinese painters of the 20th century. He was born in Yixing, a small town in the Jiangsu province of China, and began studying art at an early age. He attended the Shanghai Art Academy and later went to Europe to study Western painting techniques, returning to China in 1927.

Xu Beihong was known for his skill in depicting animals, particularly horses, and his paintings often featured dynamic and lively scenes. He was also a master of ink painting, a traditional Chinese art form that involves the use of black ink on paper. His works were marked by their strong sense of movement and their bold, expressive brushstrokes.

One of Xu Beihong’s most famous paintings is “The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains,” which depicts an old man and his family working tirelessly to remove two mountains that blocked their path. The painting is a metaphor for the power of perseverance and determination and has become a beloved symbol of Chinese resilience and strength.

In addition to his artistic achievements, Xu Beihong was also a respected educator and advocate for art education. He served as the president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing from 1949 until his death in 1953 and helped to establish a new system of art education that emphasized both traditional Chinese techniques and modern Western methods.

Throughout his career, Xu Beihong was deeply committed to preserving and promoting traditional Chinese art forms, while also embracing the influence of Western art. His work reflects a fusion of these two artistic traditions and has had a lasting impact on the development of Chinese art.

Today, Xu Beihong is celebrated as one of China’s most important modern painters, and his works are highly sought after by collectors around the world. His legacy continues to inspire artists in China and beyond, and his influence on the art world can still be felt today.

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