Qi Baishi was born in 1864 in the Hunan province of China in the town on Xiangtan. He came from a low income family and was ill for most of his childhood. One day he came upon an old manual for painting which sparked his interest in the subject. He began to recieve formal training from Hu Qinyuan and later Tan Pu. It was through this training that elevated his work to a point where he could make a living as an artist. He was well received mainly for his natural style and not letting personal or political feelings influence his work. During his early career he managed to master several forms of art styles including seal-carving and calligraphy.
It was not until his 40's that he decided to start to travel and seek out more inspiration. He stumbled upon the Shanghai School and met Wu Changshuo who inspired many of Baishi's works. Fifteen years later in Beijing he met Chen Shizeng who also influenced his works. During World War II many of the cultural valuables China Held dear in the past were being destroyed but Baishi's work was still being held in high regard. It was during this time that he was elected to the Nation People's Congress and made honorary Chairman of the NAtional Artist's Association. It wasn't until his mid 50's that he was considered a mature painter. His earlier work had primarily focused on landscapes, but now as his lines sharpened and his technique improved he began to focus on animal life, plants, and insects. Qi Baishi is Still highly celebrated in China. His work was unique for its time as it showed no western influences as many of his colleagues were doing at the time. He brought a freshness to his craft while still maintaining his cultural roots; something the people of China were eternally grateful for.
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