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 A Splendid Work of Art Born of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

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A Splendid Work of Art Born of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

—The Large Oil Painting "Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan"

Source: Peking Review, No. 29, July 19, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


    THE large oil painting, Chairman Mao Goes to An-yuan, was successfully created under the guidance of Chairman Mao's concept of "making foreign things serve China and weeding through the old to bring forth the new." It was born at a time when the revolutionary people throughout China were carrying criticism and repudiation of China's Khrushchov to a new high.
   The painting vividly portrays our great teacher Chairman Mao as he went to Anyuan 47 years ago to kindle the flames of the proletarian revolutionary movement there. It successfully presents the brilliant image of Chairman Mao. It is, at the same time, a telling exposure of and a heavy blow against China's Khrushchov.
   The painting was finished on the eve of National Day, 1967 — the I8th anniversary of the Chinese People's Republic. Leading comrades of the Cultural Revolution Group under the Party's Central Committee highly appraised this outstanding work as soon as they saw it.
   It was also extremely well received by the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers. They hailed the birth of this revolutionary oil painting as a rich fruit of the efforts of revolutionary art workers in implementing the great leader Chairman Mao's policy of literature and art serving the workers, peasants and soldiers, of literature and art serving proletarian politics, as well as a fine product of the unprecedented, great proletarian cultural revolution.
   They considered it a fine painting because it portrayed the brilliant image of the great leader in his youth when he went among the workers and peasants to carry on his great revolutionary work, and reflected his boundless concern for the working class. It was fine because it embodied their infinite love for and loyalty lo Chairman Mao. It was fine because it presented true history and put right history which had been reversed by China's Khrushchov. They pointed out that the birth of this revolutionary work was a great victory for Chairman Mao's revolutionary line in literature and art and a great victory for Mao Tse-tung's thought.
   When they saw the painting, workers at the Anyuan Coal Mine said:   "We Anyuan workers feel particularly close to it; we are proud of it." They described it as a magnificent revolutionary epic, a testimony to history.
   In view of all this, on July 1 this year, when the nation commemorated the 47th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, Renmin Ribao, Jiefangjun Bao and a number of local papers presented coloured reproductions of it to their readers.
   Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan is a collective work by a number of Red Guard fighters and young revolutionary teachers and students of Peking universities and colleges. Comrade Liu Chun-hua did the actual painting. Many of them never participated in painting before. Twenty-four-year-old Liu Chun-hua himself, a student of the decorative arts department of Peking's Central Institute of Applied Arts, had never before specially studied oil painting. The composition, from first conception to finished work, took something over two months; its execution on canvas took only a little more than a month. That these young people were able to create such a splendid work of proletarian art in so short a time reflects the truth that the great proletarian cultural revolution initiated and led by Chairman Mao himself has brought into fullest play the revolutionary energy and wisdom of the Chinese people. It shows that, once the revolutionary people grasp Mao Tse-tung's thought, they can create miracles.
   The large oil painting Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan carries us back to the autumn of 1921. At that time, the three big mountains of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism lay like a dead weight on the Chinese people. The state was rotten to the core and society was in an abyss of darkness. Like a clap of thunder, the Communist Party of China came into being in 1921! In the autumn of that year, with the grand and heroic ideal of emancipating the whole of mankind, Chairman Mao traversed mountains and crossed rivers to go to Anyuan — a colliery in the western part of Kiangsi Province. In Anyuan, Chairman Mao sowed the seeds of revolution and opened another new magnificent chapter in the history of the Chinese revolution. He personally initiated and led the general strike of more than 17,000 Anyuan railway men and coal miners, which ended in a great victory for the workers. It was in Anyuan that Chairman Mao personally planned the historically important Autumn Harvest Uprising (1927) and organized the Anyuan workers to take part in this great armed struggle. It was also Chairman Mao who taught the Anyuan workers to take the revolutionary road of seizing political power by armed force.
   After our great leader Chairman Mao had made Anyuan a cradle for the Chinese workers' revolutionary movement, China's Khrushchov, a speculator in revolution, wormed his way into the Anyuan mining area in September 1922. He did all he could to oppose Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and committed a series of counter-revolutionary crimes. But for many years this arch-renegade and big scab grabbed others' merits and advertised them as his own successes. He boasted that he was the "leader of the Anyuan workers' movement" and encouraged counter-revolutionary revisionists in the literary and art fields to glorify him in various literary and art media, so as to secure him a place in history. The oil painting depicting China's Khrushchov in Anyuan was thus created.
   It is absolutely impermissible for China's Khrushchov to arbitrarily tamper with the revolutionary history of Anyuan!
   Holding high the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung's thought, hundreds of millions of the nation's armymen and people are repudiating China's Khrushchov during the great cultural revolution. This group of young Red Guard fighters of Peking universities and colleges and the young revolutionary teachers and students in these institutions took the paint brush as their weapon and plunged themselves into the movement of revolutionary mass criticism and repudiation. They made up their mind to restore the original and true history of the Chinese workers' movement. Starting in July 1967, these young revolutionary path-breakers began their collective creation of the large oil painting Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan.
Following Chairman Mao's teaching that "China's revolutionary writers and artists, writers and artists of promise, must go among the masses; they must for a long period of time unreservedly and wholeheartedly go among the masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, go into the heat of the struggle, ..." these young fighters went to Anyuan in early July. They made a penetrating study of Chairman Mao's great revolutionary practice there and grasped the Anyuan workers' proletarian feelings of boundless love for Chairman Mao. Recalling the events of the past, old workers described to them how Chairman Mao walked to Anyuan clad In an old blue gown, carrying an umbrella and wearing cloth shoes. As soon as he arrived, he visited their mat-shed hovels and went down the pits to chat with the workers and taught them to rise in revolution, smash the chains of the old society and build a new world in which the workers would be the masters. As they listened to these stories, the young fighters' love and esteem for the great leader Chairman Mao surged still higher.
   In order to make a success of this creative work, the young fighters diligently studied Chairman Mao's works, collected data about Chairman Mao's early revolutionary activities, and read his poems written during his youth. In this way the spirited image of Chairman Mao in his youth appeared in all its impressiveness before them. How eagerly they wanted to present in painting that image of the great leader!
   The process of creation of Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan was by no means all plain sailing.
   Following the founding of the People's Republic of China, literature and art suffered under the dictatorial rule of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line. The handful of counter-revolutionary revisionists in literary and art circles were taken up with feudal, bourgeois and revisionist trash. They would not allow the revolutionary art workers to really go into the midst of the workers, peasants and soldiers, and they put obstacles in the way of their creating works extolling Chairman Mao, still less would they permit such a group of unknown "nobodies" to portray the brilliant image of Chairman Mao.
   The broad masses of workers, peasants and soldiers, however, ardently desire the revolutionary fine arts workers to produce works presenting the glorious image of Chairman Mao. While this painting was being created, they supported and encouraged these path-breakers on the fine arts front. They gave many valuable suggestions. This was especially so as regards the old workers who had taken part in the general strike of the Anyuan railway men and coal miners. They took the initiative in acting as advisors to this creative work.
   The handful of counter-revolutionary revisionists and "authorities," however, turned a jaundiced eye on all these endeavours, saying that "you have never done any oil painting and your technique is too poor," "this painting has no proper chromatic scheme," "this is meaningless," and so on and so forth. The young fighters once again studied Chairman Mao's teaching that "all our literature and art are for the masses of the people." They thought: Why is it that the great leader Chairman Mao leaches us so patiently and the workers, peasants and soldiers encourage us so warmly, while these fellows disparage our efforts in such a manner? They came to understand that a struggle was on between Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line and the bourgeois reactionary line centring around the basic question of whom literature and art are for. Refusing to be intimidated by any "technique," they set their mind on portraying the glorious image of Chairman Mao, loving what the masses love, painting what the masses need and serving the people wholeheartedly.
   Following Chairman Mao's teaching to create works in the "Chinese style and spirit which the common people of China love," the young fighters took the needs of the workers, peasants and soldiers as their yardstick and strove to combine the rich expressive power of oil painting with the fine, detailed brushwork in traditional Chinese painting. After repeated and searching discussions, they finally settled on the composition and chromatic scheme seen in the finished work. What impresses people is the clear-cut treatment of the subject matter, the simplicity of its composition, the bold relief of its central figure and its clear, bright colouring.
   Liu Chun-hua, who did the actual painting, wrote in an article: "As regards the composition of the painting, we place Chairman Mao in the forefront, walking towards us, like the shining morning sun rising before us and bringing great hope to the people. Chairman Mao's slightly raised, slightly turned head shows his revolutionary spirit of fearing no hardship or brutal force. Chairman Mao's clenched left fist shows his determination and spirit that cannot be deterred in fulfilling his lofty aspirations for the complete emancipation of the whole of China and mankind and his firm confidence in victory. The old umbrella under his right arm shows his hard working style of shirking no hardship for the revolution and travelling everywhere in all weathers- Walking with firm steps over the rugged terrain, Chairman Mao is seen breaking through all obstacles, blazing the trail for our march and leading us forward victoriously. His long hair, uncut because of the press of work, is blown by the autumn wind which sets his gown too a-fluttering; this gives the impression of an unusual moment, a moment on the eve of a revolutionary storm.
   "Take again the clouds which pile one upon another in the painting. They indicate that Chairman Mao is arriving at Anyuan at a moment of fierce class struggle — yet how tranquil, composed and confident he is! They also foretell that Chairman Mao's arrival will give rise to a new storm of class struggle.
   "In a word, everything painted, the hills, sky, trees and clouds, must convey some idea and become the language of art. They must play their part in evoking the great image of the red sun in our hearts."
   Comrade Liu Chun-hua is the son of a poor peasant. Since childhood, he has cherished a deep love for Chairman Mao. He has a big collection of photos of Chairman Mao and he looks at and sketches from them every day. The more he draws, the greater is his love for Chairman Mao. Thus, guided by Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line, he and his comrades-in-arms finally succeeded in creating the large oil painting Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan.
  
Source: Peking Review, No. 29, July 19, 1968
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org


  
  
  

 
 
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