Expressing Belarus' beauty and soul

Updated 2017-10-31 10:03:56 China Daily
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Paintings loaned from Belarus' national art museum, Issac Levitan's The Alps, on show in Beijing.

Paintings loaned from Belarus' national art museum, Issac Levitan's The Alps, on show in Beijing.

The tranquil landscape of Belarus and the artists nurtured by this landlocked country are little known to most Chinese people.

But as this eastern European country strengthens its ties with China with the advancing of the Belt and Road Initiative, more Belarusian artworks have been introduced to Chinese audiences at several exhibitions held in Beijing this year.

An exhibition of 57 paintings from the collection of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus is now being held at the National Art Museum of China.

The Beijing museum also staged another Belarusian art exhibition that concluded on Sunday. It showed sculptures and watercolors by Sergei Selikhanov (1917-76) inspired by a visit to China in 1956. They were shown in China for the first time, and they were juxtaposed with the works of Konstantin Selikhanov, 50, Sergei's grandson, who is a sculptor in Minsk.

In June, Tsinghua University Art Museum presented Nonlinear Reality, an exhibition of Belarusian lithographs, watercolors and drawings on loan from the country's National Center of Modern Arts.

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Paintings loaned from Belarus' national art museum, Nikodim Silvanovich's Soldier with a Boy, on show in Beijing.

Paintings loaned from Belarus' national art museum, Nikodim Silvanovich's Soldier with a Boy, on show in Beijing.

Speaking about this show, the center's director Natalia Sharangovich said that no one is better than an artist to express a country's beauty and its soul.

It is the same idea that is demonstrated at the current exhibition at the National Art Museum of China, which also celebrates the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Belarusian diplomatic ties this year.

The exhibition took two years to prepare, says Wu Weishan, director of the National Art Museum of China, and it is grounded in the variety of collections, from historic iconographies to modern works, at the National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus.

Wu says the exhibition traces the evolution of Belarusian art since the 19th century to the present day, with a selection of portraits, landscapes, still lifes and genre paintings which "hail the majestic expanses and clear, blue sky of the land and its people's desire for a peaceful, free life".

The exhibition starts with the paintings of 19th-century Russian artists largely belonging to the artists' collective Peredvizhniki, or The Wanderers.

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Uladzimir Prakaptsou, general director of the Belarusian museum, says that after Belarus was merged into the territory of the Russian Empire in the 18th century, many Belarusian artists were nourished by Russian art, and some received training in Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Among the Russian masters featured are Ilya Repin and Valentin Serov, two portrait artists, and Ivan Shiskin and Issac Levitan-both of whom are known for their realistic depiction of Russian landscapes.

Paintings of the four artists from the collection of Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery were shown at an exhibition on the Peredvizhniki group of artists, at the National Museum of China in 2015.

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