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Exhibition shows how a modern master let nature nurture his art

By Lin Qi | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-01-14 09:14

Construction of Sanmenxia Dam, an epic work by Li Xiongcai, is on show at the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy through to Feb 23.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Gao hoped these arrangements could boost Li's career to carry on the rejuvenation of Chinese artistic traditions.

Years later, Li did fulfill his mentor's wish to become a second-generation leader of the Lingnan school of painting, which emerged and prevailed in Guangdong in the 20th century.

His accomplishments in reviving the classic ink paintings, especially in the way he observed, sketched and learned from nature, are being revisited at Restudy the Nature, an exhibition at the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy through to Feb 23.

The exhibition highlights Li's versatility in handling different subjects, including landscapes, figures and the flower-and-bird genre.

At its heart, it navigates through Li's career of utilizing sketches to revise the genre of ink painting and to express social concerns.

Li, who taught at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts for decades, is best known for a body of work in the 1950s and '60s which depicted panoramic views of industrial projects against a backdrop of magnificent natural scenery. He journeyed to the construction sites of shipyards, flood-control dams and reservoirs in Hubei and Henan provinces, and produced ink and color paintings back home.

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