An oil painting produced by the painter Luo Zhongli exhibited in China Youth Exhibition held in Beijing in May 1980 caused a great stir. At the exhibition, some people even broke into tears when standing in front of this picture. People were very easily impressed by a touching story or a wonderful piece of music melody. However, it was quite rare that people were extremely moved with tears by a painting. In fact, what people impressed was not the picture itself, but the deep emotional feelings conveyed by the picture.
Luo Zhongli graduated from the high school affiliated to Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 1968. With the impact of society, he came to Daba Mountain sand had lived there for a whole decade. Such experience made this child who has grown up in the city have a deep sensitive understanding for rural areas and farmers. Several years later, he created the oil painting “Father”, which was made on the farmers in Daba Mountains.
Father expressed a kind of beauty filled with sadness. In this picture, we could see the farmer's bronzed face with wrinkles overspreading and dry lips slightly opening, rough, and work soiled hands holding a broken teacup, and a pair of tough and helpless eyes looking at you in the sun, on the background of a scene of bumper harvest. Father demonstrated all the elements that could impress people; therefore you could know why this painting was named as the “Father” from any point of view.
Although the farmer's face had been carved plenty of wrinkles over the years, and his mouth with fewer teeth had been filled with much rotten food, we could not see any complaint and anger in his face, but frustration and confusion. Even though he worked hard to create a bumper harvest, he held a broken bowl and still lived an impoverished life. The painter took advantage of ultra realism to interpret the meaning of father.
Every viewer should know that the father in this painting represents millions of Chinese farmers. It was their hard work that could create the splendor of Chinese nation and raise generations of Chinese people. He was our spiritual father. When this painting was on display for the first time, China has just experienced a decade catastrophe and Chinese people has come out from a man-made disaster. During this disaster, Chinese farmers living the bottom suffered the most. After the Third Plenary Session, people's oppressed mood needed to be released. At that time, Father came to people's eyes. Facing it, how could those conscientious people not feel dejected and burst into tears?
After Father launched, there were lots of praises mixed with numbers of critics. Critics accused the Father of defaming the image of socialist farmers. Socialist farmers should be healthy, happy and high spirited. Obviously such judgment was backward, but it could not stop the emancipation of thought and freedom of emotional expression. After National Youth Art Exhibition, Father was published in Art magazine with the current issue of two hundred thousand, which has set the highest record in art magazine.
The painting Father made me think of Mona Lisa produced by Leonardo da Vinci. When I looked at this picture with little knowledge about the Renaissance, I felt very doubtful that why Mona Lisa took an important position in art history since the figure was not pretty and her facial expression was average. With my systematic learning of historical knowledge, I did know what Mona Lisa wanted to show was the human nature to break religious imprison and the resurrection of the soul. After the emergence of Mona Lisa, people gradually discovered the human among numbers of paintings in the middle Ages. From the smile of Mona Lisa, humanist banner has been flying in Europe.