Fu Baoshi studied in Japan during his early years; he conducted a systematic study on Chinese ancient painting history and theories. After the outbreak of anti-Japanese war, he and his family moved to Chongqing, and his artistic style gradually became mature. During this period, his figure paintings were mostly based on stories of historic figures and ancient literature. This painting is based on a famous poem by poet Du Fu in Tang Dynasty, and it is also one of the representative works by Fu Baoshi. This painting portrays the scene of Yang Yuhuan and her elder brother having a spring outing near Qujiang River in Chang’an on March 3rd during the period when Yang was favored by Tang Xuanzong. The grand procession consists of thirty-seven members and is divided into five groups by willow trees which were cleverly used by the painter. People in the first group who are splendidly dressed are lady Yang’s sister Mrs. Guo Guo and Mrs. Qin Guo; the group in the middle are arrogant prime minister Yang Guozhong and his officials who bow and scrape before him. Fu Baoshi, with freely paintbrush lines and luxuriant and elegant colors, converted the poetry into a visual symphony. He used the past to satirize the present political corruption, which had very strong social criticism. In the original poetry, Yang Guozhong appeared in the final lines, but he became the central figure in this painting. Through this we could see that the painter did not indiscriminately follow Du’s poem, but chose a representation way that was most suitable for painting after his careful consideration.


  • Title: Satire on Fair Ladies
  • Creator: Fu Baoshi
  • Date: 1944
  • Physical format: painting, 61.7h x 219w cm
  • Medium: Color on paper
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1904-1965

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