ATHENS – An exhibition featuring the works of renowned painter and calligrapher Qi Baishi titled ‘The Mysterious Orient’ will open in Athens in November, marking the beginning of a collaboration of the B&M Theocharakis Foundation with Beijing Fine Arts Academy (BFAA) and the Chinese-Hellenic Association for Economic and Cultural Development (CHAECD).
Some carefully selected 126 paintings of Qi Baishi (1863-1957) will be on show for the first time in Athens, at the B&M Theocharakis Foundation, from November 12 until January 19, 2020.
In a press release, the Foundation cites the Encyclopaedia Britannica referring to Qi Baishi as one of the last great traditional Chinese painters.
Qi Baishi was born in Xiangtan (Hunan province), in a poor rural family. He was initiated into the secrets of fine art during the era when China transited from Qin Dynasty into republic. He has become a legendary figure in China’s art history. His art emerged at the time when China started interaction with the West in the 19th Century; especially at the crossroads where modern styles evolved from the past.
At the age of 40 he travelled to many parts of China, inspired by landscapes, and was considered a great exponent of Dono Gongbi painting, which is characterized by its extremely fine brushing and vivid details. Qi Baishi’s typical style is “ likeness and unlikeness”. His art shows the argument with the traditional notion of Chinese painting that bamboo symbolizing modesty and the orchid indicating delicacy. Favorite themes include dreamy landscapes, shrimps, fish, crabs, and flowers.
Qi Baishi was a director of the Beijing Chinese Painting Institute (current BFAA), and continued the tradition of the so-called ‘Individualists’ of the 17th and 18th Centuries, such as Shitao and Zhu Da. During the modern reforming process of Chinese traditional painting, he broadened the subjects of Chinese traditional painting with his unique style.
Most importantly, Qi Baishi has brought the spirit of time and space into traditional themes. As the founder of Chinese modern Xieyi style (in contrast to realism), Qi Baishi has influenced China’s modern art history in terms of inspiring the contemporary art in the 21st Century.
Qi Baishi was a pioneer to introduce Chinese traditional art works to international art fairs and supporting causes of the international peace. At the age of 92, he was honored with the International Peace Award by the World Peace Council.
Qi Baishi’s works are on show at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, Palace Museum (Forbidden City), China’s National Arts Museum, and many of other museums in the US, Europe and Asia.
Organizers of the Exhibition: B & M Theocharakis Foundation, BFAA and CHAECD
Duration of the exhibition: 12 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday 10.00-18.00