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Zhang Yanyuan---Art Historian

Zhang Yanyuan---Art Historian
Zhang Yanyuan was the art historian of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).He was born into a chancellor family in Yishi of Puzhou, took office as ministry counselor of the Ci department and chief minister of Dali. As a learned scholar and excellent painter and calligrapher,his works include Fashu Yaolu, Collection of Poems on Color Paper and the first general history of art -- Records of Historical Famous Paintings.

Records of Historical Famous Paintings is a summation of ancients' achievements in painting history.Besides, Zhang initiated the style of general art history. Zhang use systematic historical painting materials to support his theories and focused on the development and internal relations of art history.The book is about the development and significant theories of the history of painting.

Zhang passed equitable judgments on painters by quoting predecessors as well as developed his own ideas.He brought recording, appraising, collecting, circulating and even mounting to the list of indispensable components, which gave rise to the integral research system of Chinese painting history.The book had a unique position in the development of Chinese painting as a link between the past and future.

As one of the earliest art theorists and critics, Zhang contributed many achievements to the theory of ancient painting history.There are several features to Zhang's artistic theory.He emphasis on the meaning of painting itself and stressed that painting needs ingenious creation and that the basic skill of painting lay in conception and stroke.He thought a painter's cultural taste and personality were also very important to painting and painting was a career of moral scholars who had knowledge and unique personalities.