Sunday, June 26 2022


Paintings bring ancient Vietnamese architecture to life

Update: May, 25/2022 - 09:03


St Joseph's Cathedral in Hà Nội by Nguyễn Thanh Vũ.

HÀ NỘI — Oil paintings featuring unique ancient Vietnamese architecture from across the nation are being exhibited at Văn Miếu–Quốc Tử Giám (Temple of Literature Complex).

The exhibition, entitled Kỳ Ẩn Việt Nam (Mysterious Việt Nam), has been organised by the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies in collaboration with the Văn Miếu–Quốc Tử Giám Culture and Science Centre. It is also the first art exhibition to ever be held within the special national relic.

It introduces to the public the first 20 artworks of 27-year-old HCMC-based painter Nguyễn Thanh Vũ.

The oil paintings of different sizes depict many famous heritages and landscapes from the north to the south of the country, such as Lũng Cú Flag Pole, St Joseph's Cathedral, Báo Thiên Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral in HCM City.

Besides familiar architectural works that still exist today, visitors can also see some of Vũ’s more unfamiliar painting or ones that have gone into historical documents like the Lưu Cừ Temple in the southern province of Trà Vinh, that existed during Óc Eo Culture (1st-7th century).

A painting of Lưu Cừ Temple by Nguyễn Thanh Vũ. The temple today is a relic in Trà Vinh Province.

According to the painter, the Vietnamese people have created many unique architectural works with national history, each of which is imbued with time imprints and historical mysteries.

“However, such wonderful stories have neither been known nor thoroughly understood by many. The existence of Ca Lâu Citadel or the secrets of Lưu Cừ relic might not be known and that’s why Mysterious Việt Nam was born,” he said.

Sharing with Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, Vũ said he had nurtured the idea of creating a collection of artworks that showcase the typical architectural, heritage and geographical features of Việt Nam for a long time. He embarked on the realisation of his idea in June 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and finished the final touch on the final painting of this exhibition at the end of this March.

Pursuing Post-Impressionism, Vũ wishes to convey a strong vitality, enthusiasm as well as youth and peace through his works.

According to Lê Xuân Kiêu, director of Văn Miếu–Quốc Tử Giám Culture and Science Centre, Mysterious Việt Nam is expected to spread the fond interest in the ancestors' legacy among the youth.

“I highly welcome the creativity of young people on the basis of the legacy that the ancestors have worked hard to nourish and pass down on. This exhibition is hoped to inspire the youth with positive energy and creativity so there would be more compositions with diverse perspectives on the nation's heritage would be created in the future,” he noted.

Associate Professor Dr Nguyễn Thị Thu Phương, Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies, assessed that the 20 exhibited works depicting Việt Nam’s cultural resources and heritage with the artist’s enthusiasm and creativity also demonstrate Vietnamese cultural identity and a lively Việt Nam.

Vũ also expressed his hope to continue to set out on more trips to learn more about the heritages and extend Mysterious Việt Nam.

The exhibition will conclude on May 30. — VNS

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