Hanoi artist’s illustrations set to inspire public interest in masterpiece “The Tale of Kieu”

(VOVWORLD) - An exhibition of paintings and illustrations from Nguyen Du’s “The Tale of Kieu” by Hanoi’s painter Nguyen Tuan Son was held in Ha Tinh, Nguyen Du’s hometown, late last month. The display, which also featured publications of the poem and Nguyen Du’s literary works, was part of cultural celebrations for the great poet’s 255th birth anniversary and 200th death anniversary.

Hanoi artist’s illustrations set to inspire public interest in masterpiece “The Tale of Kieu”  - ảnh 1Some illustrations of "The Tale of Kieu" by Nguyen Tuan Son. (Photo: VOV) 

“The great poet Nguyen Du – The Tale of Kieu masterpiece in his hometown of Ha Tinh” showcased 150 large illustrations of “The Tale of Kieu”, 40 oil paintings by Nguyen Tuan Son from Ha Noi, 500 publications on the epic poem through different periods and Nguyen Du’s literary legacy.

According to the organizers, the paintings instill viewers with new inspiration about “The Tale of Kieu”, arouse art creativity and spread its cultural values.

"It’s not easy to understand Nguyen Tuan Son’s paintings at first. Viewers are required to have sympathy and feelings towards the poem’s characters while having a good understanding of Son’s intentions. I myself find Son’s paintings different from other artists featuring‘The Tale of Kỉeu’. Son uses different colors, blocks in his paintings while putting a lot of emotions into his work," Nguyen Van Tuan of Ha Tinh, a fan of “The Tale of Kieu”, told VOV.  

Nguyen Kieu Lien, another visitor from Ha Tinh, said Son’s paintings focus on the oriental cultural beauty with the images of temples and ancient villages, in combination with temporary values, creating totally different paintings of characters in “The Tale of Kieu”. 

"Nguyen Tuan Son’s paintings are a combination of Vietnamese and western cultural values, featuring the architecture of village temples, pagodas, and images of unicorns and dragons," said Lien.

Son portrays the main character Kieu in a creative way while keeping her original beauty. His paintings were created beyond prejudices, giving viewers a better understanding of all characters’ inner feelings.

"These paintings are also of great importance in terms of education as they help show techniques and layouts in painting, as well as how to deal with colors and nurture the artists’ feelings," Son told VOV. 

Hanoi artist’s illustrations set to inspire public interest in masterpiece “The Tale of Kieu”  - ảnh 2 Artist Nguyen Tuan Son. (Photo: VOV)

Born in 1978, Nguyen Tuan Son graduated from the National College of Music and Arts and Vietnam’s University of Fine Arts. To date, Son has drawn nearly 5,000 illustrations for “The Tale of Kieu’. He has also collected ancient copies of “The Tale of Kieu” and researched the life and career of Nguyen Du.

"The Tale of Kieu’ is a classic work. I have also done research on the life and career of Nguyen Du to better understand his era and the way he created his characters. For example, Kieu is always featured with the moon-shaped and double-stringed lute while Thuc Sinh is recognized by his special moustache and Hoan Thu is popularly known for her jealousy," said Son. 

Son said he hopes that his illustrations inspire Vietnamese young people’s love for “The Tale of Kieu” and the country’s traditional culture in general. 

“The Tale of Kieu” is widely regarded as the most significant work of Vietnamese literature. In 3,254 verses, written in luc bat (six–eight) metre, the poem recounts the life, trials and tribulations of Thuy Kieu, a beautiful and talented young woman, who must sacrifice herself to save her family.

The masterpiece has been translated into many foreign languages, including Russian, French, English, German, Romanian and Spanish.