Indepth Arts News: |
"Intimate Pleasures - Asian Handscrolls and The Four Seasons in Asian Painting
2001-06-05 until 2001-08-19
Saint Louis Art Museum
St. Louis, MO,
The Saint Louis Art Museum's Asian collection celebrates summer with the concurrent
exhibitions Intimate Pleasures - Asian Handscrolls and The
Four Seasons in Asian Painting. Both are drawn from the
Museum's holdings of Chinese and Japanese art.
Intimate Pleasures focuses on the unusual fonnat of the Asian
hand scroll. Holding and unrolling a hand scroll is considered
by connoisseurs to be the most enjoyable and satisfying way to
view a calligraphy or painting. Small enough to put in the sleeve
of a traditional robe, the hand scroll was portable and could be
carried around to share with friends while having tea or wine.
It was popular with artists who exploited the hand scroll's
horizontal format for its inherent narrative character and
limitless rhythmic compositional opportunities.
The Four Seasons in Asian Painting explores the seasonal aspect
of Asian painting and its cultural importance in both China and
Japan. Key to agriculture, festivals, and customs, artists marked
the seasons with poetry, calligraphy, and painting. Traditionally,
the turning of the seasons determined the theme of artworks
displayed in homes and semi-public places like temples and
restaurants. Flowering trees and plants as well as insects and
animals were favorite subjects. For example, the lotus blossom
and dragonfly were not merely symbols of summer but also a chance for the artist to paint images meant to bring to mind
the sensations of long, hot, humid days, the sounds of cicadas
buzzing high in the trees, the refreshing tastes of summer foods,
and all the subtle cultural aspects of that season.