Landscape after a fragmented old painting 《临摹古残画》
In the course of sifting through a large online archive of old artworks, one really jumped out at me.
Unsealed, unsigned, and tattered in places, the boldness of the lines and restrained finesse of the texturing and composition made it stand out amidst a crowd of its better preserved, and in their own right outstanding, peers.
In fact, the very disrepair of the piece, unsigned, unsealed and unattributed only added to the pathos of the work.
It was a novel experience for me working off a damaged piece, and it was clear to me from the start that I would like attempt a copy in the spirit not of reinterpretation, but of restoration. It would not be too far a stretch to say that whilst time and circumstance had wasted and degenerated the form, the soul of the painting remained pristine.
Mine is admittedly a poor imitation at best, but I am satisfied thinking of it as a tribute to a bygone age.
Technically, this was executed in the manner of the academy painters. First the outline, then the texturing, then washing with ink, layer after layer in some places as necessary. I’ve never heard it described as such, but perhaps one could think of those as corresponding to form, substance and nuance.