Visual Culture in Communist China

observing, analyzing & re-presenting the art of twentieth century china

Autumn Mountains at Dusk, Pu Ru

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Pu Ru (1896-1963) MOUNTAIN HERMITAGE IN SECLUSION 溥儒 隆中高卧圖 (1896-1963) 設色紙本 立軸 一九三三年作 款識: (錄韓愈〈送李愿歸盤谷序〉,文略) 靜遠先生少慕武侯之為人,逢興之亂,獨善自守,不以儒為不肖,命作〈隆中高卧圖〉,其所以寄慨深矣!既成此圖,并書韓文公〈送李愿歸盤谷序〉以觧之。癸酉十一月。西山逸士溥儒并識。 鈐印:「 乾坤一腐儒」、「舊王孫」、「溥儒之印」、「寒玉堂」、「半潭秋水一房山」。 99.2 by 33.2 cm 39 by 13 1/8 in.


Pu Ru
Autumn Mountains at Dusk, 1948
ink and color on paper

Autumn Mountains at Dusk by Pu Ru is a 97 by 33 cm hanging scroll of a mountain landscape. It demonstrates delicate and intricate brushwork intrinsic to traditional Chinese art. The piece features tall mountains, forest, and a secluded pavilion.
The piece has a vertical composition. The lower part of the painting, that shows the objects close to the viewer is very intricate and detailed. The leaves and flowers on the trees are drawn out in thoroughly. However, as we move up, the details are fading away. In the upper part of the painting, the mountains and another house in the distance are floating in the air. The mountains are drawn with bigger brush strokes.
This technique makes those objects look more remote for the viewer and adds a feeling if distance.


There are also two small figures of people going up the hill towards the pavilion. They are facing each other. Judging by their position, the people on the painting are having a conversation. One of the figures is pointing towards something with their hand. However, the figures are very small in relation to the trees and mountains around them. Because of that, at first, the painting looks static. The viewer notices the figures later because due to their size. Pu Ru turns to traditional Chinese art in this aspect, as people are depicted small to show their insignificance compared to nature.

The artist uses warm pastel colors to show the atmosphere of the sunset. The leaves and the grass has a light green color. It is almost transparent as we can see the paper through it. It is not realistic, but it makes the piece look calmer. Yellow-toned paper creates an additional feeling of warmth to the painting. Even though the sky is not painted, Pu Ru still manages to convey the atmosphere of the dusk.



One Comment

  1. Blogpost Comment:

    Pu Ru’s Autumn Mountains at Dusk has inspired me to look at the works of Feng Zikai in a different light. Feng’s works are inspired by traditional Chinese art, such as this piece, but differ in subject matter and brushstroke. Considering this work has reminded me of the similarities and differences of how Feng’s style compares to traditional Chinese art. The puddling technique and fine detail differ from Feng’s art, as does the color palette. I had forgotten of these differences before being reminded by this work.

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