Painting as a Fine Art

Up Contents Timeline and Maps





The Song and Yuan periods are considered by many the high point of painting in China.   Here we will look at the art of painting in these periods from three overlapping perspectives:  the development of landscape as a major genre, and the elaboration of distinct styles associated with the court and the literati, and changes over the course of the time from the Northern Song to the Southern Song to the Yuan period. 


As you look at the paintings in this section, keep in mind the following questions:


How effective are paintings as vehicles for carrying ideas?  Is there a conflict between painting to represent appearance and painting to express ideas or feelings?

What values encouraged the development of landscape into a subject matter for painting?

Why were scholars attracted to painting as a way to express their individuality? Why did certain subject matter especially appeal to them?

How different were the paintings produced by court painters and scholar painters?


Landscape Painting

Court Painting

Scholars' Painting