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Calligrapher Yuan Qiming works on Chinese calligraphy at Acropolis museum in Athens, Greece, March 23, 2018. Two artists from the Shanghai Museum initiated visitors to the Acropolis Museum in Athens into the traditional Chinese arts of calligraphy and painting. (Xinhua/Marios Lolos)

by Alexia Vlachou

ATHENS, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Two artists from the Shanghai Museum initiated visitors to the Acropolis Museum in Athens into the traditional Chinese arts of calligraphy and painting.

Calligrapher and exhibition designer and associate curator Yuan Qiming and painter and assistant curator of painting and calligraphy Dr. Yan Xiaojun worked before visitors, as if they were in their own private studios.

The Athens Acropolis Museum hosted a four-day workshop from March 22-25 in the context of a memorandum of cooperation signed between the two museums and the 2017 Greece-China Year of Cultural Exchanges and Cooperation in Creative Industries.

"I think visitors are very interested in the Chinese techniques of calligraphy and painting," President of the Acropolis Museum Prof. Dimitris Pantermalis told Xinhua.

In the framework of cooperation between the two museums, two treasures from Shanghai Museum are on display at the Acropolis Museum for an exhibition which will last until April 500.

The two masterpieces are the bronze pan of Zi Zhong Jiang which dates back to the 7th century B.C. (Early Spring and Autumn Period), and the hand scroll painting "Travelling along the Clear River" created by artist Wu Hong in the 17th century (the Qing dynasty).

"We have brought to the Acropolis museum two pieces of exhibits that is a bronze pan and a hand scroll of Chinese painting that represent the ancient Chinese art. We are going to paint a landscape and I will show you the calligraphy of Chinese in ancient times, the clerical script of Chinese," Yuan said.

He presented major script types of Chinese calligraphy, one of the trademarks of Chinese culture.

"I am surprised when I am writing, some of the visitors know so much about Chinese culture and they can tell what I am writing. It is amazing," he said.

For his part, Dr. Yan improvised in his painting with free hand skill and ink-wash just as the literati painters did, with various subjects such as colored landscape and flowers.

"I have performed similar paintings just like we have here exhibited on display in the museum. I depicted yesterday a landscape of China and I will paint another landscape in north China. They have similarities, but you can see the differences between the landscapes from the north and south. I used special techniques to depict different kind of rocks in the landscape," Dr. Yan explained.

Chinese painting is an art, which has a deep-rooted tradition and a unique style, employing a "dots and lines" structure and the writing brush, ink stick, silk and Xuan paper as the main tools.

In the spirit of exchange, two exquisite objects from the Acropolis Museum are being exhibited at the Shanghai museum up until April 8.

The two antiquities loaned are a marble statue of a Kore (520-510 BC), one of the most beautiful and well-preserved sculptures of the Acropolis, which retains traces of its archaic colors, and a red-figure basin lid with a Dionysian scene (3500-325 BC).

"We have sent to Shanghai two masterpieces from the Acropolis Museum and we sent also two conservators to present there the way the ancient Greeks worked with marble, how they made sculptures. This was realized with great success," Pantermalis said.

"In the future we prepare a major exhibition with a special theme with some very personal objects of the Emperor Qianlong. They are now in the Forbidden City and we will present these pieces in the fall this year in the Acropolis Museum," he said.