Friday, January 13, 2012

He Zhizhang 贺知章


The Four Masters of early Tang dynasty mainly made achievement in regular script. In the prime and middle periods of the Tang dynasty, the Three Outstanding Calligraphers for Cursive Script, namely He Zhizhang, Zhang Xu and Huai Su, who had been the most innovative calligraphers with high time spirit, fully developed the romantic calligraphic style represented by cursive script. With their unremitting efforts, cursive script witnessed an unprecedented thriving in the history of calligraphy.



He Zhizhang (659 – 744), a native of Yong Xing, Yuezhou (now Xiaoshan in Zhejiang), was famous for his cursive script. Li Bai and Lu Xiang compared him with Wang Xizhi and Wang Xianzhi in their poems respectively. People paralleled his cursive script with the stone from fallen star, crane drawn bu Xu Ji and phoenix drawn by Lang Yuling, and called them four master masterpieces in the Imperial Library.

However, few of his works survived through centuries. Classic of the Filial Piety, the only cursive script remained for present people, displayed a flowing and lucid style whose brushstrokes were intense and vehement. With thick and thin lines and clever arrangement of structures, he created an artististic world lingering between illusion and reality. The composition of his works was as smooth as stream, fully corresponding to his causal and unrestrained Romanticism.

His cusive script therefore introduced the romantic ethos to the prime and mid-Tang dynasty. In addition, he was also skilled in regular script.
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Classic of the Filial Piety 孝经
初唐四大家的成就主要在楷书方面。草书则应推崇唐草三杰,即贺知章、张旭、怀素。他们是盛中唐时期最具有创新意识和时代精神的杰出书家。经过他们的不懈努力,使盛中唐以草书为代表的浪漫书风走向极致,并成就了草书史上的高峰。
贺知章(659 - 744),越州永兴(今浙江萧山)人,以草书著名。李白在诗中将他比喻成王羲之,陆象则将他比喻为王献之。当时的人还将他的草书与秘书省的落星石、薛稷画的鹤、朗馀令的凤合称为秘书省“四绝”。

然而,他的书法作品存世极少。现可见的草书作品只有《孝经》,其用笔酣畅淋漓,点画激越,粗细相间,虚实相伴;结体左俯右仰,随势而就;章法犹如潺潺流水,一贯直下,充分体现了他那风流倜傥、狂放不羁的浪漫情怀。

他的草书拉开了盛中唐草书浪漫风气的序幕。此外,他还擅长楷书。


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