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Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art

I haven't been here for a while. I used to come here all the time with my dad, back when we lived in the area. They've renovated over the years, adding the Target wing on the west side and another piece onto the east side, I assume onto the children's theater, which I haven't explored yet.
My favorite sections have always been the parts devoted to China, Japan, and classical Roman art – China and Japan for the beauty and elegant poetry portrayed in much of their art, and Rome for the power and stature of their sculpture. I love the wood block prints from Japan. Stylistically, they are very unique in their commonly orthogonal perspective, which allows them to portray numerous scenes in a single image. The use of exaggerated, dramatized expressions gives it an almost theatric quality, and makes sense as a base from which Japanese animation styles have developed.
Going back to the Chinese area, I found a piece that caught my eye, especially, that I may not have noticed before, and epitomizes my love for East Asian art. It is a piece by the 18th century Chinese artist Hsi Kang (1746-1816), called “Bamboo and Blum Blossoms.? It is a horizontally oriented picture on a scroll, very long, done with black inks. What I find amazing about this piece, and about Chinese ink art, in general, is the ability to breath so much life into a picture with just varying shades of black. The intricate detail and flow of the image over the scroll, from the busy trunk of the plum tree, mixed with bamboo shafts, branching out to become more and more peaceful on the right with the plum blossoms, is amazing, and frames the writing, which I assume to be a poem, on the right. I wish I knew what the poem said, as there's no translation. It is a very calming and peaceful piece, overall. Looking at it, I imagine the time and dedication it must have taken to paint something so beautiful with what seems to me as a fairly limiting medium.