Concept of the Relationship Between Painting and Poetry

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This is an interdisciplinary study of art history and theory, developing a new concept of East-West art study. It examines the concept of relationship between painting poetry as seen in analysis of selected writings and art works of Leonardo da Vinci and Su Dong-po (Su Shi) of the Song Dynasty of China.


“It is valuable for the fund of information it imparts. It is perhaps even more valuable as a model of how comparative and interdisciplinary studies should be presented. . . . Bao begins his study with the eleventh century Chinese poet and painter, Su Shi, who is less well known outside of China, translating some of the Chinese texts about his art and philosophy into English for the first time. Then he sets forth all that which contributed to Su Shi’s consciousness: the history, customs, belief systems of his Chinese culture as well as his own personal history, education, experiences, emotions and perceptions. Next he introduces Su Shi’s theories on the equality of painting and poetry, the criteria for creating a poem or painting, and his beliefs about the relationship of man to nature. Finally he presents a poem and painting as examples of Su’s work which he carefully deconstructs. Next, Bao undertakes an equally thorough examination of Leonardo da Vinci’s state of consciousness, theories, and beliefs, providing examples of Leonardo’s poetry and painting which he again deconstructs. Only then does Bao conclude this impressive study with a synthesis of Leonardo and Su. Never is Bao guilty of overlooking the distinctions that exist while presenting the similarities between the two artists and their theories. In fact, those who fear the suppression of the unique qualities of a specific culture when it is found to share some important universal characteristics should read this magnificent book for the reader is allowed to become a participant in his work.” – Letitia Lane

“Bao is able to show relationship between Su and da Vinci without disturbing too much the roots from which they sprouted. He manages this by approaching his subjects through steps of association with the historical, cultural, and aesthetic trends of times, distinction, whereby he explains how the artist used ideas to create his own art works; and synthesis that points out similarities and differences of the artists and to topics of poetry and painting. . . . Bao takes an interdisciplinary, case study approach to his topic, analyzing specific works of the featured artists. In Su’s case, he sues the poem ‘Memories of the Past at Red Cliff’ and the painting ‘The Old Tree and the Strange Rock.’ For Leonardo da Vinci, he chooses the poem ‘Codex Atlanticus’ and the painting ‘Mona Lisa’. In all instances, Bao carefully deconstructs the structure, style, and, in the case of poetry, the words and metaphors and their meanings, at times relating these characteristics to the artist/poet’s life.” – John A. Lent

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Preface, Introduction
1. The Silent Poetry and the Invisible Painting: Su Shi’s Concept of the Relationship Between Painting and Poetry
2. The Art Works of Su Shi: Poem “Memories of the Past at Red Cliffs”; Painting: “The Old Tree and the Strange Rock”
3. Una Poesia Muta, Una Pittura Cieca: Leonardo da Vinci’s Concept of the Relationship Between Painting and Poetry
4. The Art Works of Leonardo da Vinci: Painting - “Mona Lisa”; Poem - Two Verses from the “Codex Atlanticus”
5. Conclusion: A Comparative Study of Leonardo and Su
Notes, Bibliography, Index

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