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Vietnamese Art: Uncovering The Passion Beneath

It's not been long since Vietnamese art established its ground in the past century. With the Ecole De Beaux Arts opening its doors to local students some 70 years back, began the slow diffusion of Vietnamese art into the local scenario. However, the cultural inception of Vietnamese art goes back much further. When the first lessons in line drawing, anatomy, and landscape painting were offered in the first half of the 20th century, art students began to make use of the rich cultural and religious background to bring new flavor to their work. Village huts, farmers, and daily life formed the themes of the paintings. The tradition of lacquer and silk paintings had already begun very early and were used in temple decorations. The French colonial period saw a rise in the number of students taking to painting. These upcoming artists possessed sufficient skill but lacked the means to display them to perfection. However, the scenario has undergone a sea change today with modern artists executing their abilities combining traditional and innovative styles.

Art connoisseurs outside Vietnam often point out some striking resemblance of Vietnamese painting to European painting. But it would be absolutely wrong to assume that Vietnamese art is a mere replica of its European counterpart. An important justification of this is the desire of Vietnam artists to make them acceptable throughout the world. The resemblance to European painting is often deliberate, expressing their wish to be treated seriously by art lovers worldwide. Most Vietnam artists borrow Western art techniques, but the content always pertains to the intricacies and complexities of past Vietnamese cultural life. The Vietnam artists too, like others, are moved by their surroundings and have opted for a sensitive medium to put their identities into canvas using colors and poetic imagery.

Generations of Vietnam artists have executed their work brilliantly. No two artists display similar characteristics. Rather, each one has his unique style. Among the artists of the older generation, Bui Xuan Phai earned a name for having traded paintings for food during the period of serious economic hardship. The younger generation of artists aims to make a mark for themselves in the widening intellectual and business arena. This generation of young artists also reflects to move away from the past and create an indelible mark on the future. Use of motifs, symbols, emblems form the chief weapons by which these artists try to convey the multiple emotions and feelings.

For long, Vietnam artists lacked the opportunities to exhibit their skill in other parts of the world. Their imagination, however, did not wane away. Rather, it gave way to fresher ideas leading to experimentation. Vietnamese fine art has thus new dimension and is being widely acclaimed by art connoisseurs worldwide.

Submitted by:

Suzanne Macguire

Suzanne Macguire is an Internet marketing professional with expertise in content development and technical writing in a variety of industries.



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