Tian Shiguang, also known by his literary name Gongwei, was born in Beijing as a descendant from Leling, Shandong province. He was admitted to Peking Jinghua Academy of Fine Arts, where he was taught by a number of famous flower-and-bird painters including Zhao Mengzhu, Wu Jingting, Yu Feian, and Qi Baishi. After graduation, he began to work as a researcher and lecturer in the Research Office of Chinese Painting at the Peking Museum of Antiquities. In 1946, he became a student of Zhang Daqian and later taught at National Beiping Art College, China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Central Academy of Arts and Crafts. He was appointed as a researcher at the Central Research Institute of Culture and History by the State Council in 1993. Tian specialized in flower-and-bird and mountain and water painting, inheriting traditional Chinese meticulous painting (gongbi) techniques including double outline drawing (shuanggou) and heavy use of colors (zhongcai) and endowing them with different interpretations of a new era.