Museum encouraged to build worldwide prestige

Visitors watch an exhibition themed "The most beautiful workers" in the National Art Museum of China in Beijing on April 29, 2023. (PHOTO / CFP)

President Xi Jinping has commended the work of the National Art Museum of China over the past 60 years and encouraged it to develop into an art venue enjoying worldwide prestige with the ultimate goal of enhancing public appreciation of the fine arts in the new era.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Sunday in a reply letter to veteran experts and artists of the museum, offering congratulations on its 60th anniversary.

In the letter, Xi said that the museum, which has witnessed the thriving development of art since the founding of New China in 1949, has made notable achievements in collecting and exhibiting artworks, promoting public education and engaging in international exchanges.

Xi expressed his hope that the museum will maintain a people-centered philosophy in its operations and strive to improve the quality of its collection, promote the utilization of artworks and provide better services.

He called on the museum to make greater contributions to the prosperity and development of Chinese fine arts, building cultural confidence and strength, and securing new successes in developing socialist culture.

The National Art Museum of China, a national-level art gallery, opened to the public on May 23,1963. In a recent letter to Xi, 13 veteran experts and artists of the museum expressed their resolve to contribute to the high-quality development of art museums in the new era.

Wu Weishan, the museum's director, said at a celebration ceremony on Tuesday that Xi's letter is an affirmation of the museum's role as a witness to and participant in the thriving development of Chinese art.

"We are grateful to be in a time of greatness. Together with those who have a pursuit of beauty, we shall continuously work hard to build the National Art Museum of China into a national-level palace of art, and even one which is world-class, where people can appreciate fine works of art and gain cultural knowledge," Wu said.

In celebration of its 60th anniversary, the museum is presenting through July four exhibitions, including two shows of selected works from its immense and diversified collection of Chinese and international art.

A third exhibition celebrates the spirit of the Long March and the spirit of Yan'an, an old revolutionary base area in Shaanxi province. Another exhibition examines the passing on of the xieyi (drawing the spirit) style of classic Chinese painting.

Fan Di'an, chairman of the Chinese Artists Association, dean of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and former director of the National Art Museum of China, said these exhibitions navigate through the creations of artists spanning several generations.

They present a prosperous landscape of Chinese art and the work of Chinese art museums, which has kept pace with the times and carries on the traditions of Chinese culture, Fan said.

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