Response Paper #2
For this second response paper, I chose to write about Huang Gongwang’s “Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains”. In this long handscroll painting, Huang Gongwang painted the landscape in the area around the Fuchun River. As a main topic of this painting, I would like to talk about how this painting depicts the basic elements of Chinese painting: its balance or contrast and its subject matter or theme of the painting.
First, the idea of balance or contrast in this painting by Huang Gongwang is depicted by his drawings of hills and mountains. As they scroll follows the riverbank along the line, the hills and mountains rise and fall, giving it the sense of the balance and contrast in the overall scenery of the painting. In addition, the overall background of the scenery also varies. It is sometime clear and expansive but other times it is deep and remote. Huang Gongwang also portrays this idea of balance and contrast by using his brushwork as well. At one point his brush work is gentle and serene but at other points it can also be free and unrestricted.
Second, the subject matter and theme of the painting is also something that is important to consider when it comes to analyzing Chinese paintings. In this painting by Huang Gongwang, the subject matter is the landscape in the area around the Fuchun River. He tried to portray all the beautiful scenery of mountains and hills that reside along the riverbank, when he was traveling and residing. Therefore, we can also say that it is a painting that reflects Huang Gongwang’s idealized image of the landscape transformed through his exploration of nature.