Herdboy and ox

Li Keran1980

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art

In this painting, the ox is depicted in a light ink wash. Can you see the highlight on its back? It is achieved by the contrast between light and shade known as 'chiaroscuro' in the world of art.

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  • Title: Herdboy and ox
  • Creator: Li Keran
  • Date: 1980
  • Theme: Figure
  • Physical Dimensions: w48 x h31.5 cm
  • About the Artist: Li Keran graduated from the Shanghai College of Fine Arts in 1925, and later entered the National Academy of Art at West Lake to study sketching and oil painting. His teachers included Qi Baishi and Huang Binhong. Li was widely recognized as a master in traditional Chinese painting, but he owed his innovative style to Western art, especially the use of light and shade. He was inspired by 17th century Dutch painter Rembrandt, as well as the Impressionist paintings of the 19th century. In his landscapes, he often applied large areas of black ink to form rolling mountains, but left a thin white space like an outline to distinguish one mountain range from another, similar to the backlight effect used in photography. The introduction of the effect of light into Chinese painting therefore became the hallmark of Li Keran's landscape paintings. Apart from landscapes, the ox was also one of Li's favourite subjects.
  • Type: Ink and colour on paper
  • Rights: Hong Kong Museum of Art


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