Chen Chiyu

Professor Chen Chiyu           

Doctor of Arts, PhD. Supervisor of Fine Arts, co-supervisor of post doctorate in Arts

Executive member of National Society of Arts; evaluation expert for national excellent doctoral dissertations (Arts) by Ministry of Education; member of academic committee of the CSSCI journal Hundred Schools in Arts; and associate editor of Arts and Science, the academic series published by Tsinghua University Press.


Research Interests:

1.History and Theory of Chinese art

Professor Chen Chiyu is mainly involved in the research on early Chinese landscape painting and its ideological origin as well as the research on figure painting, with papers published in Chinese core journals including “Birth and founding of traditional Chinese landscape painting”, “Achievements of landscape painting theory in Liu Song Dynasty” and “Influence of Taoism upon Chinese landscape painting theory” etc.; papers published in CSSCI journals of Journal of Tsinghua University and Journal of Southeast University including “Jiou Ge Painting of Jang-Wo and fairy tale images”, “Enlightenment and artistic function of Chinese figure painting”, and “The significance of Chen Shizeng’s view of progressivism of Chinese painting” etc.  

Engaged in the research on theory of Chinese modern arts, professor Chen has published a monograph Modern Chinese Fine Arts History of over 300,000 Chinese characters, which includes systematic and in-depth research on thoughts of modern Chinese fine arts, arts theory, the research status of art history and ideological and cultural background of modern Chinese fine arts. The monograph has an impact in the circle of art theory.

2.Art Principles

Mainly engaged in research on basic art principles and Chinese artistic discipline, professor Chen published a monograph Introduction to Modern Artistic Studies of over 300,000 Chinese characters, which is the first book named with artistic studies since the founding of PRC. It includes in-depth discussions on major issues in art and artistic aesthetics and proposes new ideas. In Chinese Academic Canon in the 20th Century and History of the Art Theory of China in the 20th Century, the book is commented and introduced as an important research achievement in art studies in the 20th century. The monograph has great influence in art circle. In addition, he studies on aesthetics of Chinese painting and calligraphy with paper of “Chinese and Western Aesthetic Comparison on the Characteristics of Poems and Paintings” published by National Taiwan University of Arts, and “Shi Tao’s Aesthetic Thoughts of Painting” and “Research on Wang Seng-qian’s Calligraphic Theory” published in core journals. 

3. Fine Arts Criticism in China

Professor Chen currently chairs the research project of “Science of Fine Arts Criticism in China”, a project in philosophy and social sciences of Beijing.

Engaged in research on fine arts criticism and ancient Chinese fine art criticism, he has completed the research work of humanities and social sciences project of Ministry of Education “Research on Art Criticism” with papers of “Establishing a Science of Fine Arts Criticism in China”, and “Essentials of Research on Fine Arts Criticism in China” published in authoritative journals such as Literature and Art Studies and he put forward the theoretical framework for the science of fine arts in China. In addition, his papers Four major characteristics of modern Chinese artistic criticism and The application of the categories of appearance, meaning, form and spirit in Chinese artistic criticism have been published and reprinted by China University Digest of Social Sciences, and Plastic Arts, with good academic effect. He also carried out art criticism and published artistic criticism articles concerned with Chinese realistic art, and communing on the contemporary well-known Chinese artists of Chen Shizeng, Li Keran, Huang Binhong, Zhang Ding, and Wu Guanzhong. He also published Construction and Painting in New China in Poland, which was written in English; and Tradition and Reform of the Modern Chinese Traditional Painting in Taiwan.

4.Chinese Art History

In 2009, he completed “Theoretical Study of Chinese Art History”, the project of National Science of Art and published the long papers The Development Course and Basic Characteristics of Chinese Art History Study, Painting Historical System and Historical Theory in Zhang Yanyuan’s Notes of Past Famous Paintings (Li Dai Ming Hua Ji), Analyzing the Historical Value of XIE He’s Painting Appreciation and Relevant Problems, and On Early Chinese Calligraphic Achievements. One paper has been reprinted by Plastic Arts organized by the Renmin University of China. His academic thoughts have been quoted and commented by relevant experts, with good academic impact.


Academic Standpoints

1.History and theory of Chinese art

Chinese landscape painting and theory on landscape painting boast a long history, and is an important representative of the spirit of ancient Chinese painting and arts. Through literature review, professor Chen holds that Chinese landscape painting has its root in Wei and Jin Dynasties, and its emergence and development has been influenced by Lao Tzu’s thought “Dao Follows Nature” and Chuang Tzu’s thought “Great Beauty of Heaven and Earth” and “Harmony with Others”. Taoism and naturalistic concept in Jin and Wei Dynasties are the important sources of thinking for the emergence and development of Chinese landscape painting, and also the spiritual core of Chinese landscape painting. Confucian thoughts of propriety and music had affected the ancient provisions of painting in China by holding that the painting functions to “be conductive to the enlightenment and to the ethics”. It promoted the prosperity of China’s figure painting in the early stage.

The 300-thousand-word monograph of History of Chinese Modern Fine Arts was published. With the eastward spread of Western culture and new cultural movement as the ideological and cultural background, the books put forward viewpoints of the three trends in Chinese modern fine arts, namely, thought of fine arts revolution, thought of modernism fine arts and the integration of Chinese and Western thought. It holds that in the first half of the 20th century, under the influence of the West and Japan and with the efforts of two generations of art historians and artists, the Chinese art theory and study of fine art history have transformed from classic form to the modern form, which marks a new stage for the development of the study on Chinese fine arts history.

2.Art Principles

Since reform and opening up, artistic study has furthered its development. It is an objective requirement of artistic development in China to conduct research on basic principles of artistic study and on art discipline. In the monograph Introduction to Modern Artistic Studies, new academic viewpoints have been put forward on research of the art nature, art occurrence and art function, holding that art is the creation of open aesthetic relationship, the art occurrence is the manifestation of the will of life, and art has a function for cultural participation. He also published papers Academic Characteristics and Development Prospects of Chinese Artistics, and Discussing the Possibility of Establishing Chinese Artistics of a Modern Form and Ethnic Characteristics, etc. He advocates absorbing the achievements on art history of traditional Chinese calligraphy theory, painting theory, calligraphy taste, painting taste, calligraphy history, painting history and traditional musical and poetic theories, learning from the modern viewpoints and methods of western artistic study to establish the Chinese artistic study of modern form and ethnic characteristics.

3.Fine Arts Criticism in China

He holds that there is a rich variety in ancient Chinese calligraphy theory, painting theory, calligraphy taste and painting taste, which forms the peculiar categories, methods of criticism and values to Chinese painting and calligraphy criticism. With the development of fine arts discipline and the actual needs of art creation and art criticism, the construction of art criticism as a discipline should be strengthened, with the emphasis attached to the exploration and learning of ancient Chinese theory of art criticism, to prevent the “Westernization” in the criticism theory and establish the basic concepts, methods, values of Chinese fine art criticism, which will promote the development of Chinese art criticism as a discipline.

4.Chinese Art History

The major viewpoints he proposed in this aspect are: China is the earliest country with art history; Chinese art history differs from western art history in that it originated from calligraphy which gave impetus to the development of painting history. The writing method of Chinese art history in the early stage was mainly the criticism, including history and theory. Since Tang and Song Dynasties, calligraphy and painting developed independently. Centering on historical bibliography, it integrates criticism, appraisal and collection, and record in one. Thus, the discipline of Chinese art history should be established.



1. History of Chinese Modern Fine Arts (monograph, 300,000 words). Heilongjiang Art Publishing House. 2000.

2. Introduction to Modern Artistic Studies (monograph, 320,000 words), Tsinghua University Press, 2005; third print in 2008; Changjiang Literature and Art Publishing House, first edition in 1991.

3. Writing Skills of Art Essay (monograph, 240,000 words). Shandong Fine Arts Publishing House, 2002; reprinted 2003.

4. Theoretical Study of Chinese Art History (research report, 400,000 words), research project in art study of the national philosophy and social sciences, accepted and completed in 2009.

5. Four major characteristics of modern Chinese artistic criticism, Decoration (organized by Tsinghua University), 2004 (11), Literary and Art Theory Award granted by China Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

6. Establishing a Science of Fine Arts Criticism in China. Literature and Art Studies (hosted by Arts academy of China), 2003 (5); reprinted in The College Arts Academic Abstract (operated by Ministry of Education), 2003 (6).

7. Enlightenment and Artistic Function of Chinese Figure Painting, Journal of Southeast University, 2003 (5); reprinted in Research on Plastic Arts organized by Renmin University of China, 2004 (2).

8. The application of the categories of appearance, meaning, form and spirit in Chinese artistic criticism, Fine Arts & Design (organized by Nanjing Arts Institute), 2005 (3); reprinted in Research on Plastic Arts organized by Renmin University of China, 2006 (1).  

9. The Enlightenment of Marx’s “Law of Beauty” on Modern Art, Journal of Tsinghua University, 2003 (4).

10. Jiou Ge Painting of Jang-Wo and fairy tale images, Journal of Tsinghua University, 2009 (4).

11. The Development Course and Basic Characteristics of Chinese Art History Study, Hundred Schools in Arts, 2009 (5).

12. On Early Chinese Calligraphic Achievements, Journal of Capital Normal University, 2008 (5).

13. Paining Historical System and Historical Theory in Zhang Yanyuan’s Notes of Past Famous Paintings (Li Dai Ming Hua Ji), Fine Arts and Design, 2009 (2); reprinted in Research on Plastic Artsorganized by Renmin University of China, 2009 (3).

14. Analyzing the Historical Value of XIE He’s Painting Appreciation and Relevant Problems, Hundred Schools in Arts, 2009 (2); reprinted in Research on Plastic Arts organized by Renmin University of China, 2009 (4)

15. Huang Hongbin’s Contribution on Chinese Art History, Art Research, 2005 (1); reprinted in Art Forum published by Taiwan Normal University, 2005 (3), and The Cloud, Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House, 67 (Research of History of Chinese Fine Arts, 2008)


Academic Teaching:

Postgraduate Courses: History & Theory of Art, Aesthetics of Chinese Calligraphy & Traditional Painting

Undergraduate Courses: History of Chinese Art, Introduction to Art Study, Modern Chinese Fine Arts History, Writing of Academic Papers on Arts