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Shi Lu (Chinese: 石鲁; pinyin: Shí Lǔ; 1919–1982), born Feng Yaheng (Chinese: 冯亚珩), was a Chinese painter, wood block printer, poet and calligrapher. He based his pseudonym on two artists who greatly influenced him, the landscape painter Shitao and writer Lu Xun.[1]


Life and artEdit

Shi Lu came from a wealthy land owning family in Renshou County, Sichuan Province. A student of the Chinese traditional painting style guohua, he studied at Dongfang Art College and West China Union University in Chengdu (1934-1940).[2] He joined the Communist Party of China and in 1949 at the first national assembly was elected and executive member of the China Artists Association.

In 1955 Shi Lu travelled to India to supervise the overall art design of a Chinese pavilion at an international expo. In 1956 he attended the Asian-African National Art Exhibition in Egypt. During these travels he made many sketches of the people he observed developing his technique of Western drawing and Chinese brushwork.

In 1959 he was commissioned to produce a large scale painting to be displayed in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the forming of the People's Republic of China.[3] By this time Shi Lu had developed a mature style and looked upon the opportunity to create what is now considered his masterpiece. The painting depicts Mao Zedong standing on the precipice of the Shaanxi mountains in 1947, leading his troops against the National Revolutionary Army. The painting was criticized for the small image of Mao with a grand landscape and his back turned to the viewer. One critic saying that he appeared "isolated and at the end of the road". Shi Lu refused to revise the painting when asked and further uncompromising stances on his artistic vision lead to his eventual persecution by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. His art was publicly denounced, he was put in prison and not allowed to touch a brush for three years. During this time Shi Lu suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. After his release in 1970 he quickly returned to painting, taking some of the water color landscape sketches he had made in India and Egypt and adding a dense overlayer of ink painting that exhibited a darker and more erratic style, similar to that sometimes found in the work of people with schizophrenia.[4]

Major worksEdit


  1. ^ Hawkins (2010), p. [1].
  2. ^ Sullivan, Michael (2006). Modern Chinese Artists: A Biographical Dictionary. University of California Press. p. 138. ISBN 0520244494.
  3. ^ Andrews (1994), p. 236-238.
  4. ^ Britta Erickson, “Shi Lu: Giving Form to the Incomprehensible,” A Life in Chinese Art: Essays in Honour of Michael Sullivan, ed. by Shelagh Vainker and Xin Chen (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, 2012), pp. 48-58.


External linksEdit