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Visiting Huang Binhong’s Former Residence
Post Time: 10/03/2019

“This house is shown in our textbook!” a primary school student from Tongxiang, Jiaxing cried out excitedly when visiting the former residence of Huang Binhong in the Old City of Jinhua.

 “We are very happy to hear this news; it means that Huang Binhong’s fame has spread among the young generation,” said Zhou Xuhua, tour guide of Huang Binhong’s former residence. She did not know that the fifth grade art textbook in Zhejiang included Huang’s former residence until the student told her. The book says: “If you want to have a better understanding of the artistic styles of these famous painters and their contribution to modern Chinese art, it’s best to visit their former residences.”

Huang Binhong was the first painter in the history of modern China to donate all his works and collections to the country. In the past six years since its opening, his former residence has seen more than 300,000 visitors from all walks of life.

“I’ve seen this painting many times, and each time I have different feelings,” said Mr. Chen from Hangzhou. He and his wife are regular visitors. Visiting the former residence of celebrities has become a hobby of theirs in retirement.

     “It’s raining and cloudy these days. I’m going to turn off the lights. Now see how different this painting is?” Zhou asked Mr. Chen.

The painting she was talking about is the landscape of Mingxuan Spring in Mount Huangshan, created by Huang at the age of 88.

“It’s really amazing. When you stand here and watch, the layering of mountains, springs, and clouds becomes more and more clear,” said Mr. Chen with surprise.

     “See? That’s the beauty of Huang’s landscape paintings. The more you look at it, the more interesting it is, and the more you can feel,” said Zhou. 

Zhou has an intense fondness for Chinese landscape paintings. For her, this sort of discussion not only imparts knowledge but also contributes to self-improvement.

For different visitors, Zhou employs different methods of explanation. For example, once a geologist discussed the art of painting with her, and she started with “texture.” “As you know, rocks have various textures; so do the paintings. The angle of view, the materials, personal understanding… these are the “textures” of paintings. Even if the landscapes are the same, the textures may be different.” Using the terminology of texture helped the geologist connect with the painting.

When receiving internationals, Zhou gives the example of Monet, founder of French Impressionist painting. In the late works of Monet, unlike in traditional Western paintings, he changed the way of depicting shadows and outlines and painted as the light source moves, which is exactly the same technique used in Huang’s Chinese landscape paintings. This relatable explanation has been well-received by international visitors. (By Sun Yuanyuan, translated by Li Ziyi, edited by Kendra Fiddler)


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