The landscape of the Soul | Question Solutions 


The landscape of the Soul | Question Solutions

The landscape of the Soul

The landscape of the Soul Question Solutions 

The landscape of the Soul Question Solutions 

-Nathalie Trouveroy

The landscape of the Soul Question Solutions 


Understanding the Text

Q.1. (i) Contrast the Chinese view of art with the European view with examples.

Ans: There are outstanding differences between Chinese art and European art both in content and concept.

Chinese art is the portraiture of the inner spirit of things. It is not the reproduction of the physical world. The painter expects the active participation of the viwer. The Chinese painter does not expect viwer to borrow his eyes to appreciate his paintings.  He gives his viwer the freedom to look at and interprete the painting in his own way. The artist shows the way to the mysterious inner world. For example, the paintings of Wo Daoji painted on the wall round the palace wall of the Tang Emperor Xuanzong.

On the other hand, European art is based on hard realism. The European painters simply reproduce the outer appearance of an object. He expects his viewers to borrow his eyes to appreciate his art. He does not explore the inner aspects of the things as has been done by the Chinese painters. European art creates an illusion of reality. For example the fly image of Quinten Metsys.

(ii) Explain the concept of Shansui.

Ans: In the Chinese painting the landscape is called Shansui which literally means ‘mountain water’. Mountain and Water together represent the word landscape. They represent two complementary poles of reflecting the Daoist view of the universe. The mountain is ‘Yang’. It stands vertically towards heaven. It is stable, warm and dry. ‘Yin’ is water. It stays horizontally resting on the earth, fluid, moist and cool. ‘Yin’ represents the feminine force and ‘Yang’ the masculine force of the universe. The interaction of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’ is the fundamental idea of Daoism. In this respect, the middle void is also important. The interaction of Yin and Yang takes place in the middle void. Nothing can happen without it.  This can be compared with the Pranayama in Yogic practice.

Q.2. (i) What do you understand by the term ‘outsider art’ and ‘art brut’ or ‘raw art’?

Ans: A French painter by the name of Jean Dubuffet mooted the concept of ‘art brut’ or ‘raw art’ in the 1940s. This genre of art is described as the art of those who have no right to be called artists as they have no formal training but show talent and artistic insight. Their artistic creations are a simulating contrast to a lot of mainstream offerings. Anything, small or insignificant may be the material for a work of such art. It may be a piece of tin or a sink of a broken car. Nek Chand of India is a renowned artist of this genre of art.

(ii) Who was the ‘untutored genius who created a paradise’ and what is the nature of his contribution to art.

Ans: Here Nek Chand of India is referred to as ‘untutored genius’. He created ‘a paradise’, the rock garden at Chandigarh. His raw materials were stone and recycled things. He is an expert in ‘sculpted art’. He used most insignificant objects like a piece of tin or a sink or such other things. Nek Chand has taken this form of art to a great height. The Swiss Commission for UNESCO honoured him by holding a five months long interactive show of his arts.


Q.1. Who was Wo Daoji? What was his last painting about?

Ans: Wo Daoji was a reputed Chinese painter of the eighth century. His last painting was a landscape commissioned by the Tang Emperor Xuanzong, to decorate a palace wall. The painting showed forests, high mountains, waterfall, clouds floating in the sky, men on the hilly paths, bird in flight etc. He also painted a cave in his paintings.

Q.2. ‘Let me show your majesty the way.’ What happened when his majesty was shown the way?


‘….. the artist was not seen again in this world.’ How did the artist disappear?

Ans: Once a reputed Chinese painter by the name of Wo Daoji, of the eighth century, was commissioned to decorate a palace wall. He painted forests, high mountains, waterfalls, clouds floating in the sky, men on the hilly paths, bird in flight etc. He also painted a cave in his paintings. After having completed his paintings, he ushered the king to show his art and while showing the painting of the cave, the painter said to the king ‘Let me show your majesty the way’ and clapped his hand. As soon as he clapped his hand, the door of the cave opened. The painter entered the cave and the door closed behind him. To the surprise of the Emperor, the cave and the painter vanished. Neither the painter nor the cave was seen.

Q.3.  Who was Quinten Metsys. How he married a painter’s daughter?

Ans: Quinten Metsys was a blacksmith in the fifteenth century Antwerp. He fell in love with a painter’s daughter. He thought that the father of his beloved would not accept him as a son-in-law in such a profession. So he, one day sneaked into the painter’s studio and painted a fly on his last panel with such a delicate realism that the master tried to swat it away before he realised what had happened. Quinten was immediately admitted as an apprentice into his studio. Later on, he married his beloved and became one of the famous painters of his age.

Q.4. Who wrote the stories for Chinese education. What role did they play?

Ans: Confucious and Zhuangzi wrote stories for Chinese education. The stories were based on anecdotes revealing the inner spirit of things. The stories helped the master in guiding his disciples in the right direction. They also revealed the spirits of  Chinese art and painting.

Q.5.  ‘The Emperor may rule over the territory he has conquered, but only the artist knows the way.’ Explain.

Ans: The author of the article “Landscape of the Soul’ N. Trouveroy says so to mean that none but only the artist has a supreme sway over his art.

Once a Chinese emperor by the name of Xuanzong commissioned a painter named Wo Daoji to paint the palace wall. He painted almost everything in his paintings including forests, mountains, clouds, birds in flight etc. He also painted a cave on the wall. The  Emperor appreciated the outer beauty of the paintings but failed to appreciate the inner spirit of the paintings. He did not understand the mystery of the cave as it vanished along with the painter himself.

That is why it is rightly said that the Emperor has the power over his kingdom but not over any art of an artist. 0 0 0.

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