About 43 pieces (or sets) in the Long Museum's collection have been displayed in the“Portrait vs. Figure" module. They feature men and gods in ancient and modern times who represent existence and cultural construction，through which we may find the differences between the attitudes toward and the rules of portraying in Chinese painting and Western painting. Compared with the traditional way of narration in Chinese painting，the approach in modern China that developed from traditional Western painting can be labeled as third-person narration. The principle for this type of Chinese painting is to pursue the "creation”of the "image,”whereas the West requires the "similarity" for the "appearance".“Creation”means that the painter may sometimes depart from the authenticity of the object; "similarity,”however, allows of no such freedom at all. Therefore, to "create" the image, one has to carry forward the cultural inheritance in painting, including schema and experience.
Lady (1917) by Xu BeihongLong Museum West Bund
We can get a taste from the figures of ladies, literati, and immortals created by Qi Baishi, Pu Ru.Zhang Daqian, Huang Junbi, Hang Zhiying, Xie Zhiliu, Fu Baoshi, Xu Yansun, Huang Qiuyuan, Xu Beihong and Lin Fengmian.
Female Nude by Xu BeihongLong Museum West Bund
To achieve "similarity,”one has to gain a rich understanding and experience of the real conditions as well as the spiritual world of people living in the targeted society. This has been well indicated in the human body sketches and human figures of Xu Beihong, Fang Junbi, Zhang Qianying, Pan Yuliang, Fei Yifu, Sun Zongwei, Wang Jiyuan, Feng Fasi, Luo Gongliu, Zheng Yefu, Zhao Yannian, Li Zongjin, Huang Yanghun, and Ha Ding.
Lady in Bamboo Forest (1943) by Zhang DaqianLong Museum West Bund
Self Portrait (1936) by Zhang Qianying (Chang Chien-Ying)Long Museum West Bund
Literati gatherings under the pines (1937) by Zhang DaqianLong Museum West Bund
Curios or antiques by Huang JunbiLong Museum West Bund
Woman Lying on Her Side (1940) by Pan YuliangLong Museum West Bund
Reading Lady by Lin FengmianLong Museum West Bund
Portraiture(Portrait of Guanyin Bodhisattva) (1943) by Xie ZhiliuLong Museum West Bund
Zhong Kui Practicing a Sword by Pu RuLong Museum West Bund
Five Monkeys and Three Noble Sons by Xu CaoLong Museum West Bund
The Latter Painting of the Red Cliff (1946) by Fu BaoshiLong Museum West Bund
Rhymes of Beijing Opera (1950) by Wu DayuLong Museum West Bund
Interestingly, there has been an increasing tendency among mainstream artists in the West in modern days to step away from objective authenticity since the twentieth century. The images created by artists like Wu Dayu have demonstrated the influence brought by such a change. In the modern Chinese context, where art tended to be more and more associated with "the realization of enlightenment and the promotion of ethics and morality" in the hope to "save the nation" and "serve the people,”third-person narration that tended to stress and incorporate objective authenticity gradually became mainstream in the narration of Chinese culture in the twentieth century. This can be proved by a great number of portraits and self-portraits in this module.
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind (1961) by Fang Junbi (Fan Tchun-pi)Long Museum West Bund
Portrait of Dunhuang Lady by Huang QiuyuanLong Museum West Bund
A Girl (1981) by Min XiwenLong Museum West Bund
Flower in the Heart of a Mother (1984) by Ha DingLong Museum West Bund
Curator:Wang Huangsheng, Cao Qinghui, Guo Xiaoyan