Fig 1: Along the River During the Qingming Festival
Fig 2: Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx
Landscape artwork refers to a depiction or a painting that shows herbal scenery such as forests, mountains, valleys, rivers, and trees. The principal subject of this form of artwork is a wide view that comprises of numerous elements that are arranged into a composition that is coherent. The sky is a fundamental component of these form of artwork and is almost always covered. Landscape art was historically predominant in Western Europe and Asian countries such as China and Japan. This paper compares two landscape artwork that includes, “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” by Zhang Zeduan and “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx” by Joachim Patinir. Zhang Zeduan (1085-1145) was a famous Chinese painter who hailed from the Song Dynasty. This individual played a pivotal role in the history of early Chinese Landscape art as he witnessed the transition between to the Southern Song from the Northern Song (Joliet et al. 618). Joachim Patinir (1480-1524) on the other hand, was an excellent painter who is believed to have been the pioneer of Landscape painting or art. Most of this artist’s works were done in Antwerp since this region had the largest art consumer base. Patinir’s “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx” primarily focused on religion whereby he draws together classical sources and biblical images (Bailey 111). Zeduan’s “Along the River During the Qingming Festival,” on the other hand, focusses on a religious festival that is common in Asia. All the two artists focused on the ideals of the regions where they hailed from as religion was a crucial social aspect in the eras in which they lived (eleventh and sixteenth centuries). While the two pieces of art have similar subjects, which is religion, the architectural setting, and social setting of the landscape of the two pieces of art are sharply distinct.
“Along the River During the Qingming Festival” captures that lives of the persons and the Landscape of Beijang which is present day’s Kaifeng (Hansen 185). The theme of this pieces of art was to celebrate the worldly commotion and festive spirit of the Qingming Festival as opposed to the holiday ceremonial aspects that include prayers and tomb sweeping (Hansen 193). Other scenes of this landscape art reveal the lifestyles of the different levels of the society. The poor undergo hardships while the wealthy flourish and enjoy this ceremony. The aspect of landscape art that this artist value most was humankind. Zeduan also conveyed a broader personal message of the impacts of inequality in the social setting. Zeduan’s work represents a positive attitude towards nature today as it addresses an issue that is still persistent in the present day social set-up.
Patinir’s “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx,” similarly to Zeduan’s landscape art focusses on religion. This art shows a ferryman Charon rowing a departed soul across a river. The artist is remarkable as he developed a unique composition of art by dividing the space vertically into three vertical zones (Bailey 111). Two of the zones laid side to side with the broad river in the center occupying the third zone. The iconography of this subject entails Patinir drawing together both classical sources and biblical images (Silver 60). The piece of art also allows its audience to recognize that the left-hand side represents a paradise which might be a Christian Heaven. A sharp contrasting feature between Patinir and Zeduan is the nature of their landscape setting. Patinir ensures that the aspect of landscape art that he values most is the environment (Silver 155), unlike Zeduan who values the nature of humankind and their interaction. Another key difference between Zeduan’s and Patinir’s art is that they had different social settings. Patinir focuses on a setting with few human characters within a large environment making the audience of his art to focus on the natural scenery and allowing him to demonstrate a personal interaction with the community (Silver 155). However, both pieces of art represent attitudes that are present today. For instance, the concept of heaven and hell that Patinir illustrates in his art is still present and common among most Christians across the globe. Lastly, the architectural settings of the two landscape paintings are different. Zeduan focuses on the built environment with a large population while Patinir focused on natural environment with an individual and few structures.
In conclusion, while the two pieces of art have similar subjects which are religion, the architectural setting, and social setting of the landscape of the two pieces of art are sharply distinct. Therefore, the three points used in this compare and contrast paper are the concept of religion, social setting, and the landscape art’s architectural settings. The chief similarities were the subjects of the arts as the two artists focused on religions. However, Patinir focused on natural environment with an individual and few structures while Zeduan concentrates on the built environment with large masses of persons. Patinir’s “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx” had a positive attitude towards nature as a large portion of his art was dedicated to the natural landscape, unlike Zeduan who focused on the lifestyle of the persons in his art. The eastern and western philosophies regarding nature are similar as both ideals provide a connection between nature and spirituality. However, these views have changed in the modern era with both eastern and western regions of the globe relating landscape with economic gains.
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