Mon Van Genechten (1903-1974): Flemish Missionary and Chinese Painter : Inculturation of Chinese Christian Art

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Leuven University Press, Jan 1, 2002 - Art - 188 pages
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Before leaving as a missionary to China, Mon Van Genechten was a student of the famous etcher Dirk Baksteen and mastered the techniques of mural painting under the guidance of the well-known masters Sir Frank Brangwijn and Maurice Denis. Upon his arrival in China, he was given the task to master the techniques of Chinese traditional arts and crafts. Afterwards he was assigned as professor in the arts at the Catholic University of Beijing. He continued to practice Chinese painting under the guidance of the famous scholar-artist Pu Xinyu.

His first work, created when he was still in Flanders, testifies to the sense of humanity and compassion that is so typical of his artistic tradition. He learnt the Chinese painting techniques the hard way, and his apprenticeship caused a certain stiffness or conventionality in the works he produced during this period. The mission he had, to produce "religious paintings", reinforced this tendency. At the same time, the discipline of Chinese painting softened and enriched his sense of line and landscape, and his drawings were gradually filled with the spirit, with the cosmic feature, which Chinese painting aims at expressing. But the most striking feature of Mon Van Genechten's artistic evolution was his coming back to the popular, compassionate vein that characterized his first works, without losing what he had learnt during his Chinese apprenticeship.

Mon Van Genechten has created an art that is truly his own and that testifies to the struggle of his generation. This is why his work and his life remain so meaningful for us today.

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Acknowledgments Lorry Swerts
Memories of Friar Tuck F Van Genechten my first Chinesestyle
Life and Work Lorry Swerts

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