Lifestyle, Stories

Chinese Painters: Qi Baishi, a Master at the Age of 27

Known for his whimsical and playful style of watercolor works, Qi Baishi is a renowned Chinese painter. His works usually feature birds and flowers  and are admired and praised by many worldwide.

Humble beginnings

Qi Baishi was born to a peasant family in Xiangtan, China. During his early teenage years, he taught himself how to paint while working as a carpenter. He took a greater interest in painting as he came across the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting.

Through his own efforts, he was able to master the skill of painting, calligraphy, and even poetry by the time he was 27. Some of his major influences include the early Qing dynasty painter Bada Shanren (Zhu Da) and the Ming dynasty artist Xu Wei.



His paintings

His artworks feature the fundamentals of gongbi mode which features “fine brushwork and meticulous detail.” Through his paintings, he puts into focus the small things of the world rather than large landscapes, but showcases a diverse set of subjects. The fishes, shrimps, crabs, and frogs were said to be his favorite subjects.

He was most accomplished at simple, freely sketched compositions, but he could also successfully execute a meticulous style. Using heavy ink, bright colors, and vigorous strokes, he created works in a fresh and lively manner that expressed his love of nature and life. In 1955, he was honored with the International Peace Award.

After he turned 40, he traveled, visiting various scenic spots in China for inspiration in his paintings. After 1917, he settled in Beijing. He served as head of the Beijing Institute of Chinese Painting and was an active painter until the end of his long life.

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