Bagan presents an alluring vision of the ancient city of Bagan in Mandalay, once the seat of the mighty Pagan Empire. The painting’s inclusion of historical monuments like the splendid white-and-gold Thatbyinnyu Temple and the twin stupas of Shwegugyi Temple—both built in the 12th century-- pays tribute to Myanmar’s rich history. The painting exemplifies San Win’s particular brand of Burmese impressionism characterised by subtle brushwork hinting at the blurring of outlines and features. San Win also utilises his signature palette of rust reds and honeyed browns mixed with earthy tones of brown and green, which contrast brilliantly against the bright skies and vibrant pink, yellow, and blue of the crowd’s longyis. Visually pleasing in its elegant composition, this work highlights San Win’s ability to play off architectural forms against human figures as well as his formidable skill in lighting and shade.
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