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Traditional style aims to capture beauty of nature

By Zhuan Ti (China Daily)

13:12, June 08, 2013

While the realistic gongbi style of traditional Chinese painting is generally considered to lack imagination and be less capable of expressing emotion than freehand brushwork, painter Yu Jigao said he disagrees.

"The two major genres share the same spiritual essence, which is the expression of the meaning and spirit," said the 81-year-old painter, considered one of the most outstanding living Chinese artists in the traditional painting style of gongbi, or bird-and-flower fine brushworks.

Gongbi paintings usually depict birds and flowers, symbols of beauty and joy, in an artistic way with intense color.

Although the style of painting is possibly more limiting than impressionistic forms, it still provides an opportunity for artists to fully express themselves by depicting the objects.

Growing up in rural Jiangsu province, Yu showed a strong interest in fine arts at an early age and continued to study on his own for years.

His hard work paid off later. In the early 1950s, he made his way to Nanjing Normal University, where he learned painting theories and techniques from some renowned artists. It was then that Yu found his lifelong passion for gongbi.

As an apprentice to the master Chen Zhifo, Yu developed his own style of art by inheriting the traditions of gongbi painting while learning from Chen.

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