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Chinese Painting.

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Chinese Painting. 

General information.
The history of Chinese painting is long, it begins 2000 years before our era, 
but rare are works former to the Christian era which survived. 
However the Chinese literature quotes of many names of painters for the old period. If the European painters seek, at the beginning of their career, to be distinguished and with being original the Chinese artists respect the tradition of a school.
It is only at one very advanced age that their style becomes more personal. At the beginning of the dynasty of Tang (618 - 907) the pictorial art of Far East becomes more accessible to the European spectator. This period corresponds to the beginnings of the painting of landscape which then becomes a major topic of Chinese painting. The landscape such as it is treated in China requires very another glance that its European equivalent. It is rare that the Chinese artist seeks to reproduce a precise landscape. Indeed it is frequent that this one is worried above all to express a state of heart or an atmosphere which must wake up at the spectator a similar emotion when it meditates in front of work. Picture itself has other functions that in Occident. In Europe the painting is framed and hung to the wall, its place is fixed. Chinese works are carried out on rollers of paper or of silk, arranged in a piece of furniture and the owners unfold them to contemplate them with meditation. The support, paper or silk, are so sensitive that it does not authorize 
not final improvements especially that the artists use and the washing Indian ink of colors a single color spread out with water a little like a washed drawing. The picture takes initially form in the spirit of the author, it is interiorized and completed mentally, it is only then that he gives him a visible form. Here are which explains perfectly the great safety of the gesture and of the drawing which rises from the meticulous observation of reality and a long interior maturation.
As the Chinese landscape is initially a support for the meditation often 
a calligraphed poem specifies the emotion suggested by work.
The color is used with parsimony in the landscape, often the artist is limited only to the Indian ink. On the other hand the color becomes an important component in the 4 other major kinds of Chinese painting : the portrait, which understands the religious images, the narrative painting which is a little the equivalent of the Occidental historical painting, the animalist painting which especially has as an aim the birds and the painting of plants and of flowers which corresponds to Dead Natures of the Occident. In these kinds the painters do not underline contours with the Indian ink, the reason is returned by the color. Works are called “ without skeleton ”, contrary to the landscape where black contours thus underline the structure : “ the skeleton ”.
One of the great characteristics of Chinese painting is the harmony which exists between the image and the writing, both traced with the same brush, in the same gesture. The specificity of the Chinese writing makes that the writing and the drawing are very close. Painting and penmanship are adjacent arts. Penmanship is an art which consists in representing the various characters of a writing in an elaborate form in order to produce an esthetic effect. Penmanship occupies an essential place in China, it is a spiritual discipline, it moves away from the writing and is affirmed like a purely plastic art of creation. Since the 4th century, three distinct styles prevail: styles regular or kaishu, semi-cursive: xingshu and cursive: caoshu.
The artist holds his right brush and forms features by respecting a precise order and direction. The thickness varies according to the pressure exerted on the brush, as well as speed of the movement of the hand, more the brush is delayed on paper, more the feature is thick. Penmanship can thus be compared with the art of painting.
Chinese painting is timeless, the abrupt changes stylistics which characterize European art do not exist. Thus the same feeling of peace and harmony emerges from a landscape carried out at the 10th century or 8 centuries later.
Paintings are similar because they result often from the same meditation on reality. In fact their power of evocation illustrates the Chinese proverb: “o nly one image is more eloquent than thousand words. ”.

The emperors of China were among the first guards of arts. Most artists are civils servant, who work on imperial order. The artists amateurs, often from the reprocessed or banished well-read men, are freed from the control of the court, therefore their work reflects an individualism which differs from imperial conventions. The decline of a dynasty affects the artistic evolution deeply, however during all the Chinese history all the emperors have in heart to preserve the tradition. Those which found a new dynasty take care to establish their legitimacy by continuing the artistic achievements of the dynasties passed, they thus obtain the support of their subjects. New influences, arrivals of India or the Middle East can be accepted by the court, but any novel idea, artistic, religious or philosophical is introduced by taking account of the preexistent context of the Chinese culture.
With the royal dynasties of Shang and Zhou, then first imperial dynasties of Qin and Han towards 1766 before J.-C. with 220 after. J.-C., Chinese art takes its rise. As of the Bronze Age, it is centered on the worship of deaths. The walls of the funerary rooms are decorated with painted or carved scenes representing popular legends or activities of the daily life. The political disturbances and the foreign contacts affect the character of Chinese art during the centuries which follow the collapse of the dynasty of Han in 220 after J.-C. Buddhism, introduced at the first century after. J.-C., makes great great strides as from the 3rd century. It brings new styles in the fields of architecture, painting and the sculpture. The Buddhist doctrines cause the decline of the sumptuous funerary habits. When China is unified by the dynasty of Tang at the 7th century, the painting of landscape and the portrait thrive. 
With Song of North (960-1127), painting acquires a statute comparable with that of the penmanship, which is regarded as an art except for whole since Han.

One realizes in quantity, for the imperial collections, of the tables of birds and flowers, animals and children, subjects of predilection of Chinese art. The painting of landscape becomes the artistic and philosophical means of expression preferred 
Wenren: painters cultivated amateurs exerting out of the court. During all the history of China, the artists receive a very thorough formation in each one of their specific fields. Except for the artists amateurs, they are members of well organized workshops and important size. The families transmit to the successive generations the knowledge of materials and the techniques. The Chinese artists use relatively simple tools, as the brushes of bamboo or the wood combs.

Painting, born at the end of the dynasty of Zhou (1027 - 256 before. J. - C.), opens out under Han, the sovereigns of the dynasty of Han collect the heritage of the dynasty of Qin in 202 av. J. - C., owing to a revolt of the population. They controlled during more than 4 centuries by exerting a determining influence on Chinese art.
The tombs constitute a support privileged for the artists. One finds there the pictorial topics most current, like beyond or the legends of the heroes of the past. The painting of Han reveals a new experiment in China: restitution of space and the distance. The first descriptive elements of the landscape also appear during this dynasty but they are limited however to small trees or mountains. The historical documents reveal us that the portraits of the emperors decorated their sumptuous palate and that they made carry out murals in their residences.
Under the Six Dynasties of the South (from 220 to 589 after J. - C.). , the painter Gu Kaizhi, considered as the father of the painting of landscape, makes evolve the traditions taoists and laymen in Article 3 works, probably of the copies, are allotted to him: two versions of the legend of the Nymph of the Luo river and the roller entitled Recommendations of the imperial instructress to the ladies of the palate.

The dynasty of Tang (618-906) is regarded as the golden age of China, because of its political and cultural radiation. The Buddhist painting of Tang preserves its importance, but the tradition of the profane landscape dominates painting then. 3 painters passed to the posterity thanks to supposed copies their works: Wang Wei, withdrawn landowner who is fond of the landscapes of snow. Its work is used later as model with generations of painters amateurs, who appreciate the calm one and the melancholy. Two artists, father and son, Li Sixun and Li Zhaodao, prefer to carry out their works in tonalities of green and of blue sharp, as a copy of the Song time attests it, the Emperor visits some in Sichuan. It represents the exile of an emperor of Tang, Xuanzong, into 756. The monumental character of this work, with its rock exposures and its trees with the abundant foliage, contrasts with the more sober compositions of Wang Wei.

The painting of portrait, appeared at the time of Han, is refined under Tang. The emperors order their portraits or those their predecessors. Yan Liben, portraitist famous of Tang, thus carries out the portrait of the thirteen emperors, since Han until Sui. Painted representations of late and members of its family often decorate the funerary rooms.
When the power of Tang crumbles the invasion of the Chinese territory by nearby people begins. The emperors Song (960-1279) are not as powerful as their predecessors Han or Tang. They endeavor to preserve a fragile peace with their often hostile neighbors. Arts of this period reflect introspection and the refinement which they cultivate in reaction to hard political realities. The Song emperors are themselves of the well-read men and the accomplished artists.
Painting is often quoted like more great success of art Song. An imperial academy of painting is created. 

It supports many artists, encourages the works carried out around topics such as the birds, the flowers, the portraits of children and the pets. The Song style of the flowers and the portraits is copied and recopied with the wire of the centuries. It still remains among the contemporary Chinese painters. However, the painting of landscape characterizes especially this dynasty.

At the time of Song of North (960-1126), the painters often adopt a monumental style, with the impressive prospects. Li Cheng (10th century) and Fan Kuan (beginning of the 11th century) illustrate this style perfectly. They paint imposing punctuated rock cliffs that and there of a waterfall or a group of small characters. The invoice of these pictures, often complex, with superimposed keys the ones with the others, creates the illusion of a texture. One also attends the first wenren hua, painting of well-read men. These Confucian scholars or wenren are fan of painting, who paint their own landscapes and often forsake the styles recommended by the imperial academy. The followers of the wenren hooted prefer landscapes less imposing than those of the official painters, often choosing for topic a single rock or an isolated bamboo. This preference for the simple subjects characterizes the painting of the well-read men.
At the 12th century, Song flee towards the south and settle in the town of Hangzhou. During this period, named Song of the South (1127-1279), the imperial academy of painting creates a style landscape designer known under the name of school Ma-Xia, according to the names of its two larger artists, My Yuan and Xia Gui. With the immense landscapes of the tradition of Song of North they privilege landscapes with fuller keys. The fog becomes a paramount element of the composition, it suggests the mass of the landscape and gives to the table a character ethereal lightness. To amplify the feeling of space and infinite, the artists limit sometimes their painting to only one angle of the table, leaving the naked remainder.
Painting with the brush of the Chan monks (or Zen) contrasts with the serenity of the work of Ma Yuan or that of Xia Gui. The faithful ones of this branch of Buddhism believe in the spontaneousness of artistic creation, they carry out a painting in a few minutes of frantic inspiration. These brushstrokes, free and slackened, are rejected by the academic painters. The independence of the school of Chan painting becomes thereafter a reference for the painters whom the academic styles disappoint. The invasion of China of Song by the Mongols or Yuan modifies the nature of Chinese art, in particular painting and architecture. These foreign leaders express their will to perpetuate the traditional Chinese culture. However many artists leave the court. Painting and penmanship then become the field of these former official artists. Wenren hooted, the art of the amateurs aristocrats of the Song dynasty, offers as from the period Yuan (1279 -1368) most accomplished of the schools of artists. These scholars regard the painters remained with the academy as conservatives and, often, plagiarists. Most official artists, when they begin, must carry out works inspired of Song, on the flowers, the birds or the landscapes of the school Ma-Xia. The academic tradition will however reach never again the level of the dynasty of Song of the South because the innovations emanate from external sources. Although their styles different considerably, the painters well-read men wenren resort in general to a brushstroke more daring and more assured than the artists Song of the South. The painters of the Yuan time vigorously represent the rocks and the trees, that the tradition My-Xia relegates to the plane second. The fogs do not suggest any more the distance or the infinite one, the size yields the step to dramatic and tormented forms. Those which one names the Four large Masters of Yuan : Huang Gongwang, Ni Zan, Wu Zhen and Wang Meng, represent the diversity of this period. 
The landscape remains the main theme. The flat tints of colors and the variations in the work of the brush point out the landscape designers of the era of Tang.
The installation of a Chinese dynasty of stock, called Ming (1368-1644) 
puts a term at the Mongolian domination. The court institutes an imperial academy of painting which attracts primarily the painters of flowers and birds and the landscape designers of the school My-Xia. The most interesting works remain however those of the well-read men. The Wu school which gathers wenren, Ming painter-well-read men, accommodates artists of talent, of which Shen Zhou and Wen Zhengming.
These two cultivated aristocrats practice painting and calligraphs. They assimilate the work of the Four Masters of Yuan in a personal style. The brush of Shen Zhou shows a precision of feature which confers on its paintings a well delimited clearness. Its topics take as a starting point scenes of the daily life, like one evening passed to contemplate the moon on a terrace. Wen Zhengming chooses subjects of a great simplicity, like a rock or a solitary tree. Perhaps the force of this insulation which emanates from its work reflects its own disinterest of the life of official painter.
As of the Han period, art is the subject of studies and literary critics. They reach tops under the dynasty of Ming with Dong Qichang, scholar, painter, criticism and collector. The writings of Dong on the history of Chinese painting preserved all their topicality. The last years of the dynasty of Ming are remembered by quarrels of interior policy which draw the attention of the close Manchus. They seize the power in 1644, owing to one period of disorders and rebellions, and reign under the name of Qing (1644 -1912). Anxious to assimilate the traditions of the preceding dynasties, controlling them Qing adopt all the aspects of the Chinese culture.
The court still protects an academy from imperial painting, but the major part of produced works imitates the styles of Song. There exists still also a painting of the well-read men.
Two schools distinct from wenren hooted are born under Qing: a group of painters works starting from the Masters of the Yuan period; the others, called the individualists, practice a form of freer, unconstrained painting. Within the school which takes as a starting point the Yuan, if Wang Hui painted of works in the styles of Huang Gongwang and Dong Qichang. It also develops its own style, more complex. Other painters, like Hong Ren for example, adapt the style of a single Yuan artist : Ni Zan. They copy and work exclusively in its style. The other school of artists wenren of the Qing time rejects the orthodoxe approach of holding of the Yuan models. They insist on the development of a style of painting very definitely individual. Zhu Da (1624-1705), buddhist monk, works in a spontaneous way, pointing out the Chan painters of the time of Song of the South. So much of its characters seem deformed, they never are not abstracted, are carried out very quickly, its birds and its rocks preserve however their organic form. In the same way, Dao Ji, also called Shi Tao, shows by her style a deep knowledge of nature, producing a feeling of movement and vitality. It reinforces the dynamism of its paintings in their adding zones of blue or pink washing like Yun Shouping. A strong nationalist push causes waves of political agitation which involve the fall of the dynasty of Qing in 1911. The foundation of the Republic of China by Sun Yat-sen results from an awakening of the need for modernizing China and for accepting the Western influence. Art is concerned with these new concerns. Many painters decide to go to study abroad, first of all in Japan, then in Europe. Of return in China, they bring back with them certain innovations and the bright colors. But under the Republic, decorative arts are subject to only partially the foreign influence and most traditional styles appreciated in China as abroad remain. Traditional painting always keeps the favors of the public.

Gu Kaizhi (345 - 405) is a major artist of Chinese Antiquity.
Of Confucian inspiration, the art of Gu Kaizhi is known only through three copies: two versions of the Nymph of the Luo river, and the Recommendations of the imperial instructress to the ladies of the palate Presented like a series of nine episodes painted on silk roller, this decorated work delicate characters illustrates a poem of Zhang Hua. 
According to the historians of traditional Chinese art, Gu Kaizhi is one of the first Chinese landscape designers, and its work appears among most important. Gu Kaizhi is the author of one of the first treaties on painting, the Report on the painting of the mountain of the terrace of the fogs.
Wang Wei (699 - 759) is painter and poet, illustrates landscape designer of the Tang dynasty. Wang wei is regarded one of the Masters of lyric poetry and as the introducer in the Chinese painting of the landscape as a subject except for whole.
Its pictorial work is known only through some engravings on stones carried out starting from its famous Wang-chuan roller and of the copies of its paintings by the artists who succeeded to him such as sunrise after a snowfall. Information on its work comes from literary sources. The poetic and pictorial work of Wang Wei shows a report sensitive to nature. The sentence: “ When a landscape is painted, it is more important to use its instinct than its brush. ”, is allotted to him.
Dong Yuan (towards 962) is a painter landscape designer of the time of the 5 dynasties and the 10 Kingdoms (907-960). It largely contributed, with its Juran disciple, with the blooming of 11th Yi, a purified study of landscape by the monochromic washing, which lets show through of the personal emotions.
Inspired by the vision familiar of the waterways and the lakes surrounding the area of Nanjing, it represents on a yellowed silk support, with diluted black ink, monochromic landscapes of fertile deltas to the abundant cultures, aureoled of the light and vaporous fogs of the twilight. Very influenced by Wang Wei, but wishing to reproduce the wet landscapes which surround it, it innovates by adopting a loose style thanks to the important use of water. Its waterways and its lakes broad and motionless, are drawn of a feature light, diluted and encircled broad and wet dotted lines with ink. Its washings are full and flexible, they release a great fluidity interfered features of brush tangled up and slipping by. Its landscapes invite to contemplation and contrast radically with monumental paintings of the artists of North. The estival Mountains, for example, evoke a traversed infinite extent of full of fish currents and shaded paths and invites to serenity. Of its works it remains only of rare originals and many copies.

Guo Xi (v. 1010-v. 1090) is a painter Chinese landscape designer of the dynasty of Song of North (960-1127). It seems to be, as well as Fan Kuan one of the heirs to Li Cheng (v. 919-v. 967). While copying its monochromic technique on that of the Master and by exploiting all the possibilities of the washing and ink, Guo Xi pays homage to him.
Inspired by the river valleys of the north of China, Guo Xi depicts a scattered vegetation, made up of stripped clumps of trees and dominated by the cold ones and massive mountains. It offers to the spectator the illusion to penetrate of the inaccessible places, wedged in the middle of disproportionate mountains.
Among its main works, the tradition retains: Spring snow in the procession, deep Valley, and Beginning of spring, (v. 1072). This monochromic washing has a dimension and a fluidity which does of it one of the masterpieces of the school Li-Guo (Li Cheng and Guo Xi). The meticulousness of the details, the lightness of the washing, the discrete presence of the fishermen reveal all the talent of the artist and fix the guns of this art of the landscape, in which the monumental size of the mountain evokes the supremacy of nature on the man.

Mi Fei (1051-1107) is a painter landscape designer of the Song dynasty of the North, which is also famous for its activities of calligrapher, poet, critic and theorist.
It develops a technique based on the use of tasks of ink, laid out horizontally on paper, and that of washing, which ends in the creation of a great harmony between the various elements of the composition. This style, which exempt to draw the least milked, place its inventor completely apart from the academic rules and confers a large posterity to him. Of sound living Mi Fei is more appreciated for its control of penmanship. Its paintings arouse the interest only one century after its death; they exerted a determining influence on the developments of the Song school of the South. 

Ma Yuan (1190 - 1235) is painter landscape designer of the Song dynasty whose tables represent, with those of Xia Gui, the apogee of the Song style of the South. The disciples of these two artists gather in the artistic movement called school Ma-Xia. Ma Yuan is one of the leaders of the imperial academy of Hangzhou painting. Its works express a new pictorial style impresses lyricism which becomes, thereafter, a reference for painting landscape designer of the Asian East.
Ma Yuan carries out characters and floral compositions, but is famous for its landscapes. He exerts his talent on folding screens, rollers and ranges. In its paintings, generally painted with monochromic ink, the principal subjects (trees, rocks and characters) are defined by a feature Net, and are gathered with the bottom of the composition, in an angle, this produced a powerful effect of asymmetry. Empty spaces suggest an impression of infinite depth. Ma Yuan passes main in the use of ink. Its technique is perfect in the execution of the great beaches of washing and in the precision and the clearness of the drawings of the principal figures. Then its style evolves to a more poetic approach and it expresses a taste pronounced for the night scenes. Its works, very popular, are often copied.

Xia Gui (1180 -1230) is the pseudonym of Yu-Yu, Chinese painter of the Song dynasty, which is one of the large Masters of the style landscape designer of Song of the South.
With its famous contemporary Ma Yuan, he becomes the most famous artist of the imperial Academy of painting of Hangzhou, under the reign of the Ningzong emperor. It receives the gold Belt, more the great honor decreed with a painter of the court. It breaks with the decorative style practiced at the time to cultivate a simpler mode based on the work of the Masters who preceded the Tang dynasty. Its favorite formats are the sheets of album and the rollers.
The landscapes of Xia Gui are characterized by an asymmetrical composition in only one of the four corners of the sheet. He follows the contemporary tendency which tends to reduce the scale of the landscapes, making them thus more intimate. He uses a brilliant ink and subtle ranges. The fog, the sky and the horizon are used to create the effect of prospect.

Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) is painter, poet and calligrapher of the Yuan dynasty considered for its paintings of horses, characters and landscapes. 
Zhao Mengfu uses traditional styles but also évolué is painter of court and occupies of governmental high positions under the reign of the Mongolian sovereigns of Yuan China. Its animalist paintings (Sheep and goat), adopt a preserving and realistic style inspired by the artists of the Tang dynasty. But its landscapes and studies of bamboos show a more original approach which privileges the fast and expressive but disciplined keys. As one can see it in Bamboo, tree and rock. The developments stylistics of Zhao Mengfu are the result of a thorough study of the former Masters. He is also a large calligrapher whose style constitutes the new reference.

Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) is a Chinese painter and landscape designer considered as one of the 4 large Masters of the period Yuan (1271-1368).
Huang Gongwang is, after Zhao Mengfu, the most innovative artist as regards landscape. It inaugurates a free and personal style with the dry brush, it reduces heavinesses of the often abstract traditional painting, which cuts out the mountains according to a strict upward geometry.
Among his paintings, one can retain break after an abrupt snowfall (1340), stone Falaise close to the pond of the Sky (1341) and portable roller Habiter in the mounts Fuchun (1347 -1350) celebrates it.
This last painting, showpiece of the work of Huang Gongwang, contains textures of an infinite subtlety, the tangled up keys carried out with the dry brush confer on the composition a sharp dynamism.

Wu Zhen (1280-1354) is a painter taoist who belongs to the group of 4 Masters who, under Yuan, seeks to renew the pictorial styles. Near to the manner of Song of North and in particular of Guo Xi, Wu Zhen gives to its paintings a strongly structured composition and privileges returned masses with that of the details. It paints bamboos and landscapes, with poems, in a direct speech and of a very personal expressionism.

Ni Zan (1301-1374) is a painter who remains a major figure of the esthetic well-read woman developed in China under the reign of the Mongolian dynasty Yuan (1279-1368). Follower of the taoism, it gives up at the end of years 1350 with the tangible properties and consequently posts a great detachment with regard to the world. He undertakes many voyages during which he makes halt in monasteries. It is during this period that it carries out its works, which testify to its research of simplicity and the austerity to its new existence. He becomes with Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen and Wang Meng, one of the four large Masters of the Chinese painting of the Yuan dynasty. Its landscapes, of a stripped and lyric style,adopt a small size all in height. They are deprived of human representations, low in vegetation, and always answer compositions in three plans. Generally accompanied by inscriptions, the unit appears most of the time of the lakes dominated by rock silhouettes. The painter mixes spots and lines, it shows virtuoso in the exploitation of the multiple nuances of the technique of ink. The painted work of Nor Zan, which during its career is also illustrated as a poet and a calligrapher, mark of its print the Yuan time.
Wang Meng (1308 - 1385) is also one of the 4 large Masters landscape designers of the Yuan dynasty. Also known under the name of Wang Mong, it is famous for its talents of calligrapher and poet. It is the grandson of the great painter of the dynasty Song, Zhao Mengfu, he practices painting for his own pleasure. Its creations, which evoke imaginary landscapes, are generally populated mountains, ways and trees tortuous (Landscape with waterfall). Its works are characterized by the superposition of the keys, technique which leads to the creation of the prospect within its compositions. Wang Meng is most brilliant of the Masters of the dynasty Yuan, his work exerts a great influence.
Shen Zhou (1427-1509) Influenced by the 4 large Masters of the time Yuan, Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen (1280-1354), Ni Zan and Wang Meng, Shen Zhou is the first to resume on its account their meticulous work and modelled their forms. Until the end of its life, Shen Zhou endeavors to make live their art of the landscape, while improving their style and by enriching it by its own talent. That he combs massive rocks, trees or painting of flower-birds, its features are fast and daring, its compositions are clear and simple, marrying penmanship and the drawing.
One can retain of Shen Zhou the Mount Lu (1467), which reveals a landscape traced using a very diluted ink surrounding a cascade. The sinuosities and the nodes of the trees point out the smoothness of penmanship, while light dotted lines come to underline contours of the highest mountains. Shen Zhou is undoubtedly the painter well-read man more attached to perpetuate the tradition of Yuan. To Wen Zhengming, its pupil, at Mei Qing (1623-1697) and Hua Yang (1683 - 1756), the talent of Shen Zhou continues until the end of the dynasty of Qing.
Wen Zhengming (1470-1559) is a painter landscape designer, poet and calligrapher of the dynasty Ming, leader and founder of the school of Wu painting. Raise of Shen Zhou, it tries to find the perfection of the four large Masters of the old Yuan tradition of the 14th century. In Tea under the trees, it skilfully interferes the washing and precise small keys to evoke with grace the trees, the rocks and the mountains. Later, it paints Old Trees close to a cold waterfall (1549), a roller representing a high waterfall surrounded by large knotty trees. The trees dominate the image, their trunks and their branches twisted, resembling claws, were painted with a high degree of accuracy. This very detailed style has an immense influence on its successors and he is imitated during several centuries.

Dong Qichang (1555 -1636) is painter, calligrapher and theorist of the Chinese art of the end of the Ming dynasty. Rejecting academic painting but also the profusion of declining styles of painting érudite of its time, he recommends the emulation and the reinterpretation of the former Masters. He supports a intellectual approach of the painting of landscapes, in which he privileges a rational space composition, rough brushstrokes and a frequent distortion of the forms to integrate them into the composition before the direct representation of nature. Its theories on art made it possible to codify the various schools of Chinese painting and to define, for the first time, a clear division between the tradition of the school of North and the school of the South. More marked by the school of the South, which he considers more spontaneous and nearer of penmanship than technical professionalism to the school of North, Dong Qichang however developed a personal style which directed in a decisive way painting of landscape in China. If its own tables testify to a certain heaviness and a very elaborate research, their monumental character and the moral fiber that they transmit compensates for this lack of spontaneousness. (Landscape, 1624).
Shi Tao (1630-1707) or Dao Ji, is the leader of the individualistic school, considered as one of the large Masters of the Qing dynasty. Member of the imperial family of this same dynasty, it enters adolescent a Buddhist monastery. Large reformer of the traditional pictorial kinds Chinese Shi Tao employs unusual compositions and invoices. He reinvents the painting of landscape and its subjects are very varied. He uses fluid colors selected in a rather wide pallet. Its works are presented in the form of albums of landscapes and rollers. Shi Tao is also admired for his penmanship and his poetry.
Wang Hui (1632-1717) is especially one painter landscape designer who dominates Chinese art at the end of the Ming period and the beginning of the Qing period. Its work represents the last blooming of the artists scholars, faithful to the tradition, Wang Hui is general-purpose and prolix. He takes as a starting point the Masters of the landscape of the Yuan dynasty. He is also disciple of large the critic Dong Qichang. Its brushstroke is spontaneous and skilful. He is the most famous painter of his time, his work corresponds at the end of a tradition rather than at the beginning of a new current.