Gorgeous book about artist Wu Daozi, one of the greatest painters in Chinese history. It’s rare that a biographical children’s picture book successfully captures my interest as a story, beyond its value as a learning opportunity, but Look and So grabbed me completely. I can’t wait to share this one with my son. The combination of art and magic is going to be right up his alley.
[Edited to add: he loved it.]
The Brush of the Gods is based on an old legend of the painter Wu Daozi. It starts with him in his childhood, and how he learns to first paint (even the greatest artisans of our race had to begin at the beginning after all). Gradually he becomes so good that his creatures actually come to life. The children, who are more open minded know that this is true, and as they grow it passes onto their children. Finally the emperor commissions him to do a masterpiece, one that would take up most his life to complete, and he does so. He creates a portrait of paradise, and it is said that that is where he know resides.
Two distinct illustration styles are used, the characters are painted, while the majority of Daozi's works are done in black, calligraphy-inspired lines. As these pieces take life, they too enter the painted world.
Daozi had a talent, and it is one that was so inspiring, that he is still remembered today.
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