When looking at Chinese paintings, one might sooner or later stumble over inscriptions such as “Painted in the style of…”. This may be confusing for people who have not yet been exposed to Chinese art. In Western art traditions, it is not desirable to copy another painter’s style. In Asian art, however, copying the style of a former master is not only a way to train oneself in various painting techniques and compositions, but also a sign of respect towards the achievements of earlier artists.
What is the Relationship Between Ink and Wash Painting / Sumi-e and Poetry?
A famous quote by the great painter Guo Xi of the Northern Song Dynasty is often mentioned when it comes to painting and poetry: “Poetry is painting without form, painting is poetry with form”, he stated, alluding to the close relation of the two arts. Paintings of the Southern Song Dynasty in particular are often called “lyrical”, relating to their romantic or melancholic atmospheres evoked by the use of misty areas and light washes. In ancient times, most of the painters who produced famous works were also poets and calligraphers; highly educated men who were trained in the “Three Perfections” – painting, poetry and calligraphy.