Art Pioneer Li Shutong (Collection Edition)
--Xiling Celebrated Masters Series
Published by Zhejiang Culture and Art Audio-visual Publishing House, 2001
Medium: 1 VCD disc
Narration: Mandarin Chinese
Li Shutong (1880-19420) was a Chinese artist and art teacher. He also went by Wen Tao, Guang Hou , and Shu Tong, but was most commonly known as Buddhist Master Hong Yi. He was a master painter, musician, dramatist, calligrapher, seal cutter, poet, and Buddhist monk. He was born in Tianjin to a banking family originated in Hongdong County, Shanxi, that immigrated to Tianjin in Ming Dynasty though her mother was from Pinghu, Zhejiang. Li Shutong showed many talents in writing, ancient poetry, and calligraphy as he was young boy. In autumn of 1905, he went to Japan to study in Shangye Fine Art Vocational School of Tokyo, back to China in 1910. In 1912, he became a fine art teacher music teacher in Zhejiang Secondary Normal School. He opened sketch class, canvas class, watercolor class, designing class and woodcarving class, too. He was the first to give human body sketch and field sketch classes, and also the first Chinese to give Western Fine Arts History class with systematic course materials. Come 1915, he was hired by Jiang Qian to teach at Nanjing Advanced Normal School (renamed in 1949 to Nanjing University), and taught painting and music. He also taught at Zhejiang Secondary Normal School. Successively having taught painting and music till beginning a new chapter in his life by choosing to be ordained as a monk, Li’s reputation grew, as he became the first Chinese educator to use nude models in his painting classes, not to mention as the first teacher of Western music in China. Some of the students, like Feng Zikai, Pan Tianshou, Liu Zhiping, whom he personally taught or groomed went on to become accomplished masters of the arts and musician. Li Shutong himself was also an accomplished composer and lyricist. Many of his compositions are still remembered and performed today.
By middle age, Li Shutong converted to Buddhism, and thus began a holistic life dedicated to propagating Buddhism and its code of conduct. After becoming a monk he only practiced calligraphy, developing a simple and unadorned, yet unique style, which everyone who received a sample of treasured.
Except telling his legendary life, remarkable contribution toward arts and religious field, this documentary displays by large space Li's rarely viewable and treasured arts from poetry, calligraphy, painting to seal.