Harry Martinsson

Harry Martinson

Meditation on a Chinese painting

Harry Martinson (1904 - 1978) is best known as an author and Nobel Prize winner. Few are aware, however, that he also opened the door to a deeper understanding of Chinese art and philosophies with his poems and prose about Chinese culture.

In Kinesisk konst - en konstbok från Nationalmuseum (Chinese Art – an Art Book from the National Museum) published in 1959, the author has two articles. ”Kuo Hsi beskriver lotusmålning” (Kuo Hsi describes painting lotus) is a poem published for the first time in the book. ”Meditation inför en kinesisk målning” (Meditation on a Chinese painting) is a prose describing what the author saw in a Chinese painting of two gibbons.

This exhibition shows the gibbon painting once studied by Harry Martinson and in front of which he meditated. Using a number of paintings in the museum collections, combined with the author’s writings, we aim to highlight his links with Chinese art and philosophy and provide an insight into his ideas, in which different cultures come together.