Snow Melting on the Forbidden City

Ai Zhongxin1947

CAFA Art Museum

CAFA Art Museum
Beijing, China

This painting, a realist landscape depicting a snowy scene, was painted when Ai Zhongxin came to Beijing in 1946. The painter went mountain climbing and did the sketch alone in the cold. Upon returning from the journey, he tried to thaw out the painting, wielding his brush with such loose and hasty strokes that he was actually “too rushed to ruin the painting.” Although this simple, hastily painted piece with its broad swathes of greenery cannot be described as a conscious allegory representing the end of an era, there is a certain degree of contradiction in the sight of the forbidden city, oppressed by the cold yet illuminated by the rays of the sunset. Consequently, it is possible to suggest that this painting has some sort of historical meaning. This snow scene was praised for the way it “shows poetry through a painting,” and is regarded as an exquisite artwork for the ages. The artist was very skilled at painting snowscapes, which can be used to just depict a landscape or to convey specific feelings. Li Keran once remarked on Ai’s artistic achievements by calling him “the Chinese oil brush,” while Xu Beihong also praised his work as “the melody of Beijing.” --With reference Zhong Han's work in which he describes the art and life of Ai Zhongxin


  • Title: Snow Melting on the Forbidden City
  • Creator: Ai Zhongxin
  • Date Created: 1947
  • Physical Dimensions: 38x70 cm
  • Medium: Oil
  • Support: Canvas

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