(VOVworld) – Painter Nguyen Sang was one of the many Vietnamese artists who joined the nine-year national resistance war against the French colonialists. His monumental lacquer painting ‘Party admission ceremony on the Dien Bien Phu battlefield’ marked the peak of socialist realism art. The painting also embodied his love of Vietnam and its people.
Looking at a lacquer painting, viewers often think of the materials and colors that comprise the decorative aspect of the painting. But that’s not what happens when you stand in front of this Nguyen Sang lacquer painting.
Painter Hoang Dinh Tai says that although popular lacquer art materials were used to make the painting, the focus of the painting is the interaction of brown and yellow earth tones with red highlights symbolizing the fighting spirit and pride of the Dien Bien soldiers being inducted as Party members. Tai commented:“Party admission was often conducted behind the lines following a battle. But in Sang’s painting, the ceremony takes place in a trench to clearly depict a Party admission ceremony for individuals who fought for the nation. The Party is represented by the color of the soil on which farmers toil every day. The painting's peasant-soldiers are farmers of the northern region, not city-dwellers, because the Party was an organization of common laborers who rose up for national liberation.”
Sang used as the background of his painting a combat trench outside of which a fierce battle is raging. His eight characters, surrounded by hardship and danger, stand solemnly for their Party membership induction.
Fine arts researcher Nguyen Hai Yen says a normal-seeming Party admission ceremony taking place at the center of a raging war makes this image eternal. She added:“The sacred and climactic moment is when a wounded soldier is inducted as a Party member, knowing he might die soon after. This is what makes the image of the soldiers persuasive and epic. This is Nguyen Sang’s pictorial language. He finds and enhances the details that take modest images and turn them into great ones.”
Hai Yen wrote the first critical acclaim praising the artistic values for which this painting has been recognized as one of Vietnam’s national treasures. Yen says many other painters have dealt with the same topic, including Nguyen Duc Nung in his painting ‘Party admission in prison’ and Le Quoc Loc with his lacquer painting ‘From the darkness’, depicting a simple house where communists are solemnly taking their oath beneath a Vietnam flag. But of all these paintings, the one of soldiers in a trench at Dien Bien Phu being sworn in at the height of the battle is the most memorable.
Painter Luong Xuan Doan called the painting a great contribution by Nguyen Sang to Vietnam’s modern lacquer art. Doan said: “For a long time red-lacquer trimmed with gold has been often used in lacquer paintings. It is part of the decorative language. But Sang’s strong style created an image of honest Dien Bien soldiers who also represent the Vietnamese people. Viewers feel this immediately when they look at the painting, without any explanation.”
The painting ‘Party admission ceremony on the Dien Bien Phu battlefield’ was completed nine years after the Dien Bien Phu victory.
Nguyen Sang's lacquer painting 'Party admission ceremony on the Dien Bien Phu battlefield’ is recognized as one of Vietnam's national treasures.