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Posts Categorized / Chinese Landscape Paintings

  • Aug 09 / 2019
  • 0
Antique Oil Paintings, Antique Paintings, Chinese Landscape Paintings

Quick Tips: How to Identify Antique Oil Paintings

With antique oil paintings, the composition, condition, and artist can all have a great impact on the value. We love identifying pieces brought to us by our Orlando clients, especially when it is a particularly old or rare artistic work. We also understand that people are naturally curious; whether the piece was found by an amateur at a local estate liquidation, or it is part of a collection, the owner will want to find out as much information about the piece as possible.

While you should always minimize contact with historical oils, and leave any in-depth or invasive inspections and restorations to a professional Orlando conservator, it’s nice to know how to properly handle and inspect your piece. So this is a quick overview of how to go about identifying different aspects of antique oil paintings.

Safety First

When handling any delicate antique oil painting, it’s important to prevent acidic skin oils transferring to the piece. Nitrile gloves work well for this. Although they wear out sooner than cotton gloves, they tend to allow for a better grip. If you need to take down any artwork, retain a firm grip with one hand at the base of the frame, and the other on one side. Be sure to prepare a padded, yet stable, surface to set it on before you begin. If you’re unsure about your ability to safely handle the piece, please call an Orlando professional.

Color and Content

When a piece is not one that was created by a famous artist, both the content and color greatly influence its desirability. Quite often landscapes, with bright, contrasting colors will command a higher price. Likewise, beauty will sell far easier than anything that is mundane, has muted colors, or depicts unappealing or controversial topics.


Larger does not always command a higher price. For most homes, medium to small pieces fit far better than any of the much larger works. This is why, in Orlando and other major cities, antique oil paintings such as full length portraits or sprawling landscapes are mostly found only in museums or public buildings.


It’s important to realize that the condition can vary drastically based on two things. How the antique oil painting has been cared for since its completion, and the artist’s construction of the work. Either of these can easily negate the other. If constructed poorly, no amount of care can prevent it from degrading, while even the most delicately prepared piece will wear heavily when badly cared for.

Cracks and loss of paint are usually obvious when closely inspected, but often an exam under normal light isn’t enough. Here’s an easy trick: Find a strong light source, such as a lamp or bright window, and hold the canvas up to it. It needs to be bright and close enough to allow light to be seen through the cracks, while remaining far enough away that you don’t risk bumping the painting against the window or light source. Remember that cracking due to age is unavoidable; cracks should be visible, but flakes should be secure, not falling away easily.

Varnish is usually used to protect antique oil paintings, but as it ages it becomes brittle, loses the ability to protect, and the clear coat turns an ugly yellow. This obscures and dulls the colors of the work, making it appear muted and shallow. Fortunately, this malady is only temporary, as a conservator in the Orlando area would be able to remove the old varnish and apply a fresh, clear coat, restoring any lost vibrancy.


Of the two types of supports that are commonly used (fabric and wood), both have the potential to damage the work if not properly cared for. Wood should be closely examined for cracks and wormholes, as well as any markings that might indicate the artist while you’re at it. If the back panel is improperly sealed, there are two types of damage that can occur. In areas of high humidity like Orlando, moisture is absorbed into the wood causing it to expand. This warps the wood, pushing the paint together and causing it to lift away from the page in the form of small ripples. The reverse happens in dry environments, where the shrinking wood pulls the oil apart, creating cracks.

Even with these small tips, without a familiarity of the current market or experience, it’s impossible to properly value a piece. If you are hoping to sell an antique oil painting, one of our Orlando representatives would be happy to provide you with a free market analysis. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 941 373 1234!

  • Jan 21 / 2016
  • 0
Antique Oil Paintings, Antique Paintings, Chinese Landscape Paintings

History of Chinese Landscape Paintings

Landscape paintings were developed and changed through many centuries of evolved painting styles. First, it began with the ancient Greeks and their tinted walls, and then further expanded to backdrops of scenes from religious stories. Landscape art captures natural scenery, with the main subject set up in a wide set view and the remaining elements arranged into a coherent composition. Mountains, valleys, trees, lakes, rivers, forests and other beautiful natural habitats are what typically make up the natural scenery in landscape paintings and frequently, the sky and weather is taken into consideration with the scenery of landscape paintings.


Landscape views can be entirely imaginary or they can be copied from reality. The landscape paintings that are actually based on a real place, with varying degrees of accuracy, have what is called a topographical view. China’s landscape paintings have been called the greatest contribution to the art of the world. The Chinese style generally showed only a distant view, or used dead ground or mist to avoid that difficulty. Chinese art traditions usually depict grand panoramas of imaginary landscapes. The imaginary landscapes usually feature a range of spectacular mountains and waterfalls. These were frequently used, as in the example illustrated, to bridge the gap between a foreground scene with figures and a distant panoramic vista, a persistent problem for landscape artists.

Tang Dynasty

When viewing Chinese landscape paintings, it is clear that Chinese depictions of nature are seldom mere representations of the external world but they go much further beyond that. They are expressions of the mind and heart of the individual artists who create the landscapes, encompassing all that embodies the culture and cultivation of their masters, and potentially even specific social, philosophical, or political convictions. These concepts initially came to be in the late Tang dynasty.

During the Song dynasty, landscape paintings became metaphors for the well-regulated state. With the introduction of a new style of calligraphic brushwork for self-expressive ends, the monochrome visuals of old trees, bamboo, rocks, and retirement retreats, which were created by these scholar-artists became emblems of their own character and spirit.

During the Yuan dynasty, landscape paintings were often seen as an extension of the artist himself, depictions of such places often served to express the values of their owner. The Yuan dynasty also witnessed a second kind of cultivated landscape, “the mind landscape.” These landscape paintings went beyond representation and incorporated personal feelings with select antique styles to relay the inner workings of the artists heard and mind.

The Ming dynasty is when native Chinese rule was restored and court artists were able to produce conservative images which revived the Song dynasty metaphor for the state, as a well-ordered imperial garden.

Images of nature are always a source of inspiration for artists in landscape paintings, even to the present day. While Chinese landscape paintings have been transformed by millennia of human occupation, the Chinese artistic expression is still deeply imprinted with depictions of the natural world.

As a leading Sarasota area antique buyer, we are happy to take a look at any landscape paintings that you may have for appraisal and value. Our expert team is wide-spread in cities like Palmetto, Bradenton, Englewood, Nokomis, Ellenton, Venice and Osprey. We are well-versed in many different paintings from all over the world, including the unique Chinese landscape paintings. If you want to know the value of your landscape paintings, call us to fix a prior appointment. We visit places like Winter Haven, St Pete, St Petersburg and Port Charlotte once in a week.