Landscape of the Soul by Nathalie Trouveroy - Class 11

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Meenu Sethi
3 years ago

Summary of Landscape of the Soul, class 11, CBSE English, Hornbill, written by Nathalie Trouveroy. Strap in for the ride as Nathalie guides you through the intricacies of the engimatic paintings that have come to define both Chinese and Western culture.

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Welcome to English Chatterbox! ‘Landscape of the Soul’ begins with a mystical flair which is evident in the first two examples the author presents us with.

First there's a wonderful story about Wu Daozi who paints a landscape as he had been ordered by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong. The king duly appreciated the painting and admired it, but the painter knew where the soul of the painting was. So, when he clapped his hands a gate opened at the foot of the mountain, the painter entered it and vanished and was never seen again.

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Second story is from Europe. In the area of Antwerp there was a blacksmith Quinten Metsys who fell in love with a painter's daughter. But as he was a blacksmith, the painter didn't want to accept him as his son-in-law. So, Quinten quietly entered the painter's studio and painted a fly on his panel. The painter thought it to be a real fly and tried to swat it. Quinten was immediately taken in as an apprentice and could marry his beloved.

These two stories are examples of the way art is viewed in China & Europe. In China, the classical stories of Confucius & Zhuangzi mention the why art is a mirror to the soul. The first part of the chapter gives us a fair idea as to how art is viewed in China & the western countries.

Continuing with the concept of Chinese paintings the author tells us about the Daoist view.

Interaction (middle void)
(motion of Daoism)

This is represented by a white space painted but in the macro view of the earth the two opposite poles which are Heaven & Earth and human beings are the connections. They act as sole communicators between the two. Presence of human being might be suggestive, but it is important.

Second part of the chapter talks about the concept of ‘art brut’ and supports it with an Indian example of Rock garden of Chandigarh.

‘art brut’ means an outsider's art. An outsider would be someone who is not trained in art but shows artistic talent & poses a contrast to the mainstream.

Nek Chand created a beautiful rock garden in a patch of jungle. He made things out of waste but created a paradise. His work was appreciated all over the world. The biggest award for Nek Chand is watching people enjoy his garden.

Thank You!

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