Vietnamese Painting – Brushing Excellence On Canvas

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There is nothing more beautiful than an artwork that stimulates aesthetic pleasure. Such aesthetic experience acts as a catalyst to enhance our happiness. Earlier, the classical works of art drew heavily from nature's beauty. But of late, modern art work chiefly draws inspiration from the mundane life of man. In other words, modern art captures both material and the spiritual on an equal plane. This trend of depicting the various aspects of human life is clearly evident in the paintings of Vietnam.

From a historical perspective, Vietnamese painting is not a very old art form. It's been only seventy years since the first official art academy of Hanoi, the Ecole de Beaux Arts, opened its doors to local students. However, the cultural origin of Vietnamese painting dates back much further. There has been a consistent effort on part of the Vietnamese people to devote themselves in serious artwork. When the first lessons in line, drawing, anatomy and landscape painting were offered in the early decades of the twentieth century, the art students began taking inspiration from the religious and cultural background of Vietnam. These new learners of art sketched their native villages and fellow farmers in the canvas following the lacquer and silk traditions. During the French colonial period, the students of art took to painting readily as they already possessed the materials needed to create a painting. Once the means to convey their artwork was secured, the new generation of painters began to produce an amazing variety of exquisite paintings. The vision of the past has changed but even today, artists of Vietnam keep on drawing inspiration from the past.

Connoisseurs of art, especially from the West, often complain of the deep influence of Europe in Vietnamese paintings. However, it is surprising to note that modern Vietnam artists still prefer to paint in the age of digital images and multimedia! Yet, if we analyze closely the environment in which the Vietnam artists live and work, we would conclude that painting suits the sensibilities of the Vietnamese artists as it incorporates the century-old cultural and religious motifs of the people. Besides, this expression of art is most immediately available to them. The European touch in Vietnamese painting is by no means accidental, but deliberate. A majority of Vietnamese painters love and appreciate the Western art and hence try to apply some of their techniques in their paintings so that the world would look up to them and give equal weightage to Vietnamese art. The West has not inspired the subject matter of Vietnamese paintings; rather the latter conveys the intricacies of the cultural and social life of Vietnam. Vietnamese artists, like other artists of the world, are moved by their environment and have taken recourse to a delicate way to voice their sentiments through color and poetic imagery.

For a great many years, Vietnamese painters struggled to give free rein to their expression on canvas. Lack of opportunities and adequate funds had created great obstacles to the success and recognition of Vietnam painting. Scarcity of information from the West set their imagination free and Vietnamese art thrived with luxuriance. Overcoming all these obstacles, the Vietnam artists showed their skill to paint under any adverse circumstances. Their resilience and determination are clearly mirrored in the originality and freshness of Vietnamese paintings .

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Source by Suzanne Macguire

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