Qi Baishi’s Cicada
In his octogenarian years, Chinese painting master Qi Baishi (1864-1957) seemed to be most fascinated by ‘cicada’.The influential painter noted for the whimsical, often playful style of his watercolor works, was born to a peasant family in Hunan Province and became a carpenter at 14. He learned to paint by himself. The subjects of his paintings include almost everything. He theorized that "paintings must be something between likeness and unlikeness, much like today's vulgarians, but not like to cheat popular people". In his later years, many of his works depicted mice, shrimp or birds. What is unique about the artist is that his work shows no western influences, unlike most other artists of this time. He was praised for the “freshness and spontaneity that he brought to the familiar genres of birds and flowers, insects and grasses, hermit-scholars and landscapes” .Although Baishi wasn’t the first artist to focus on small things in nd nature, he was highly recognized for his thoughtful and lyrical approach in depicting these subjects.