Tags for: How to Read Chinese Paintings
  • Lecture

How to Read Chinese Paintings

Sunday, June 4, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
Location:  Gartner Auditorium

About The Event

Video URL

The Chinese way of appreciating a painting is often expressed by the words du hua, “to read a painting.” How does one do that? Because art is a visual language, words alone cannot adequately convey its expressive dimension. In this lecture, Mike Hearn will visually analyze select paintings and calligraphies from the encyclopedic collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and elucidate what makes each a masterpiece. 

Spanning a thousand years of Chinese art from the eighth through the seventeenth century, the lecture will examine multiple layers of meaning—style, technique, symbolism, past traditions, and the artist’s personal circumstances—in the treatment of landscapes, flowers, birds, figures, religious subjects, and calligraphies in order to illuminate the main goal of every Chinese artist: to capture not only the outer appearance of a subject but also its inner essence. 


This lecture is made possible by the Pauline and Joseph Degenfelder Family Endowment Fund.

All education programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art are underwritten by the CMA Fund for Education. Major annual support is provided by the Womens Council of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Generous annual support is provided by Brenda and Marshall Brown, Florence Kahane Goodman, Eva and Rudolf Linnebach, and the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation. Additional annual support is provided by Gail Bowen in memory of Richard L. Bowen, the M. E. and F. J. Callahan Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Chapman Jr., Char and Chuck Fowler, the Giant Eagle Foundation, the Logsdon Family Fund for Education, Roy Smith, and the Trilling Family Foundation.