Revolutionary painter Tran Tu Thanh

(VOVWORLD) - Painter Tran Tu Thanh was born in 1944 in Huong Khe district, in the central province of Ha Tinh. Thanh grew up during the war and his paintings are mainly on themes of revolution and President Ho Chi Minh. 
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  Tran Tu Thanh and his signature painting about President HCM. (Photo: Trung Kien/

Tran Tu Thanh showed a talent for painting at a young age and nurtured a dream of becoming a painter. In 1958, Thanh entered the Vietnam University of Fine Arts and after graduation worked for a time in his hometown before returning to Hanoi and becoming a member of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association. He taught at the University of Fine Arts of Hanoi and eventually became Vice Head of the University.

After Vietnam was reunified in 1975, the Ministry of Culture and Information (now the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) and the Vietnam Fine Arts Association launched a campaign to create paintings and statues celebrating peace and reunification for the first National Fine Arts Exhibition. Thanh’s painting “Uncle Ho with children” was awarded second prize at the Exhibition. Prints of  the painting appeared all over the country with the title “Independence, Unification, Peace and Happiness”.

“The painting depicts President Ho Chi Minh holding a child in his arms. This symbolizes the eternity of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh always attached great importance to young Vietnamese, considering them the future of the nation. On the right of the painting is the S-shaped Vietnamese map. The white background of the painting is in the form of a dove with an olive branch, which represents peace. In the dove’s eye, there is a point that indicates the capital city of Hanoi,” said Mr. Thanh.

The painting "Uncle Ho with children" has hung for more than 40 years on the rooftop of the city's information house, at 93 Dinh Tien Hoang street in the Old Quarter, symbolizing Hanoi, the city of peace.

Tran Tu Thanh had an opportunity to meet President Ho Chi Minh when he was a student.

“I first met President Ho Chi Minh in 1963 at a national cultural congress at the Hanoi Opera House. He embraced the youngest artist there, Tra Giang, and the eldest, Nguyen Van Chanh, and urged both junior and senior generations of artists to contribute to the nation. He said the arts could be effective on the battlefield,” Thanh recalled.

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Tran Tu Thanh’s “Dong Loc T-Junction” painting, honoring heroic female young volunteers during the anti-US war.

During his career, painter Tran Tu Thanh put his imprint on many art works. He was the person who designed the Party’s membership card.

“The card looks like a small book. One side has the image of President Ho Chi Minh and the other has the Party member’s information. The cards are still in use,” said Thanh.

Tran Tu Thanh has won numerous awards. His notable paintings include ‘Peace and Friendship’, ‘Dong Loc T-Junction’, ‘Dien Bien Phu Victory’, ‘Truong Bon’, and ‘Ngang Pass’.

At the age of 75, Tran Tu Thanh is still teaching art at universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.