- Wu Guanzhong
- A Mountain Village in the North
- oil on board
- 60.5 by 44.5 cm.; 23 7/8 by 17 1/2 in.
Executed in 1974
The foreground, middle-ground and background spaces of this work are clearly defined. In the foreground, a woman dressed in red washes clothes in the bank of a stream. In the middle-ground, the artist has used simple colours to depict traditional white-walled houses and people walking around at the foot of the mountain, whilst the towering trees in the foreground correspond with the mountain landscape in the far distance. From the interior scene of the painting one can sense the atmosphere of the passing of winter and beginnings of spring. On the bare branches of the trees small green buds are emerging and there is some early greenery at the top of the mountain, echoing the pink cherry blossom at the foot of the mountain and the tufts of pink and white clouds in the blue sky. The tones and rich layers used in this work leave a lasting impression on the viewer. The artist's implicit reference to new beginnings maybe a projection of Wu Guanzhong's frame of mind; he is expressing his happiness that the hard times are over and the good times are just beginning.
In 1974, Wu Guanzhong regained his creativity in Chinese ink painting. This is particularly apparent in the depiction of the trees in this work where the fusion of Chinese ink painting and oil painting is quite clear. By combining the delicate style of Chinese ink painting with the colours of oil paints, together with the artist's maturity of composition, Wu Guanzhong successfully conveys the unique beauty of the northern Chinese landscapes, holding and transmitting the power of new life in this work.