Edge Of A Forest With A Grainfield Analysis

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Across the centuries, the natural world has been utilized in countless different artistic efforts to convey a general philosophy or social idea. Whether it’s used to find truth in the world or oneself, or to take a break from the over- industrialized, anxiety driven-earth, people have sought out nature to find the path of which they are intended to follow- obtaining the complete knowledge of the natural world, or the deep interconnectedness of all things. Fan Kuan’s ink on silk painting, “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams,” made in 1000 C.E., and Jacob Van Ruisdael’s oil on canvas painting, “Edge of a Forest with a Grainfield,” made in 1656, exemplify these concepts beautifully.
In Fan Kuan’s Travelers Among Mountains and Streams, his
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Kuan uses a monumental scale of mountains to dramatically heighten the sense of vastness and seemingly immeasurable space; intentionally conveying the human figures even smaller in comparison to the enormous trees, to express a detachment of human affairs. This causes one’s mind to roam free and is a guide to obtaining control over oneself in an endless universe; all of which is summed up in one moral philosophy. Similarly, a 17th century Dutch painting, Edge of a Forest with a Grainfield, by Jacob Van Ruisdael, expresses some of the same social ideas. During his time in Holland, Van Ruisdael greatly influenced what is known as the “Dutch Golden Age,” a period of which science, military, and art were among the most renowned in the world. Through all of the new learning and industrializing, people were forgetting about the magnificent power of nature and the spiritual connection one can make with it. Van Ruisdael used his paintings to remind people of the innate beauty of nature, and the significance it plays in one’s life. In the painting, there are enormous trees and a tiny human figure in the background, epitomizing nature instead of humans, similarly to …show more content…
For example, in Travelers Among Mountains and Streams, light is used to represent the belief in the Yin and Yang- the idea of complimentary opposites (Yin: feminine, receptive, dark, negative, weak. Yang: masculine, bright, creative, positive, strong). The use of these properties through different shades of lighting being balanced, stresses the yin and yang as being the integral process that maintains natural order through truth and reality, being and non-being. However, in Edge of a Forest with a Grainfield, light is used in a completely disparate way. Light is gently shining through the white puffy clouds and is utilized to show that nothing compares to the tranquilizing agent of a serene sunny day one can get lost in both physically and mentally. To continue, Van Ruisdael’s work is an exact realistic representation of the beauty he saw in nature, while Fan Kuan’s work is not painted as the human eye sees, but in the luminescence of his own principles. It constantly shifts viewpoints, and by not connecting some of the forms in the piece, it relies on suggestion rather than description when viewing it. Ruisdael’s work maintains the same viewpoint, representing precisely what he saw in that moment, while Kuan’s is simply an omage to the idea of a landscape. Additionally, Kuan employed a vastly differing painting style than that of Van Ruisdael. He applied ink wash (a very popular

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