abstracted landscape scene with mountain at upper left

Reimagining the Lystra Scene, 2016


2016 Accession Highlight

Liu Dan is a renowned Chinese artist who reinterprets art from the history of Western Europe and the United States using traditional Chinese ink-painting techniques. In this work, he took Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas at Lystra (2011.13), created by Dutch painter Willem de Poorter in 1636, as his starting point but abandoned most of the details that define the human forms. Instead, he presents characters as rock formations with grotesque faces. The original story is lost or disrupted. As a landscape, the work shows Liu’s attention to space and scale and to the volume and texture of the rocks. This new interpretation of an old painting forces viewers to look at a fantastical world with fresh eyes.

Born in Nanjing, China, in 1953, Liu Dan is one of that nation’s most renowned living artists. His finest still lifes and landscapes blend an innovative virtuosity in Chinese ink painting with a deep knowledge of the Western art canon. With this work, Mia adds to its collection of contemporary ink painting from China.

abstracted landscape scene with mountain at upper left