Re-painting Two Portraits: Shen Zhou and Mona Lisa
Workshop with Zhang Hongtu, Fellow in The Council of the Humanities and the Tang Center for East Asian Art
This three-session workshop focuses on the issue of boundaries between cultures, understanding them at the same time as deconstructing them. Students will be encouraged to overcome the limitations of “East” and “West” as a means of stimulating new artistic ideas. The first session will begin with a discussion of two portraits done in the same period: a portrait of the famous Chinese artist Shen Zhou, painted anonymously in 1507, and the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1506. The discussion will focus on similarities and differences between these two portraits and a variety of questions related to them. By the end of the first session, students will select one of the portraits to “repaint” and perhaps even begin painting. They will repaint the portrait by reversing style and medium: oil on canvas for Shen Zhou, ink on rice paper for the Mona Lisa. In the second session, students will continue to work on their portraits. In the third session, all of the repainted works will be displayed, and students will examine and discuss their own works as well as comment on each others’ work.