Qi Baishi had `everything' in mind

To some people, beauty does not lie in nature itself but in the aesthetic sense of man. They regard beauty as a subjective quality. Qi Baishi [1864-1957] refuted this view. He said plainly that he painted what he saw. A nature lover, he boasted that he had ``everything on earth in his mind,'' but he admitted, ``I dared not attempt the dragon, because I have never seen one.'' Once when some people doubted that the lustrous morning glory blooms that he painted could ever be as big as a bowl and hinted that he had exaggerated their size, Qi Baishi replied that Mei Lanfang, the famous Beijing opera star, had grown several hundred pots of superb morning glory in his garden with such huge flowers. From this we can see that the beauty of his paintings is a concentrated reflection of what exists outside him, in the objective world. His greatness lies in his ability to see and capture it. -- 30 --{et

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