We all know that the portrait of Chairman Mao hangs above the doorway in the middle of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, which has become the symbol of Tiananmen City Tower. For a long time, countless foreigners coming to Beijing, as long as time allows will go to Tiananmen Square to see, more will take some photos with Tiananmen Square.
Whenever I see the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square, I always feel that his old man has not left us, and it has been hanging for 73 years now. However, there are many foreigners visiting Beijing who have some confusion. Since the founding of New China, China has changed a number of leaders, but the portrait of Chairman Mao on Tiananmen has never been removed or replaced by others.
In fact, Deng Xiaoping gave a clear answer to this question as early as 1980. In August of that year, the world-famous Italian female journalist and the mother of international political interviews, Oriana Faraci, came to China for an exclusive interview with Deng Xiaoping. As soon as both sides sat down, Farage threw out a fiery question: "The statue of Chairman Mao on Tiananmen Square, should it be kept forever?"
A Chinese interpreter aside immediately felt the tension on the spot, so how did Deng Xiaoping answer the question? To understand this question, we need to know when the portrait of Chairman Mao was hung on Tiananmen Square. In fact, the portrait of Chairman Mao was hung on Tiananmen Square on the eve of the founding of the country.
On February 12, 1949, a conference celebrating the peaceful liberation of Beiping was held in Tiananmen Square, attended by more than 200,000 soldiers and civilians, with Ye Jianying standing on the Tiananmen Tower to deliver an important speech. The military and civilians standing in Tiananmen Square were surprised to find the portraits of Chairman Mao, Zhu De, Lin Biao, Nie Rongzhen and Ye Jianying hanging on Tiananmen Square.
This is the first time the portrait of Chairman Mao hung on Tiananmen. However, it was also the first time in history that the portraits of so many people were hung in Tiananmen Square at one time. The portraits hung this time were quickly removed, and on July 7, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party held a ceremony in Tiananmen Square to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the July 7th War, when Chairman Mao first ascended the Tiananmen Tower.
On this day, the portraits of Chairman Mao and Zhu De hung on Tiananmen Square, and a five-pointed star hung in the middle of these two portraits. This is the second version of the portrait of Chairman Mao on Tiananmen Square, painted by Dong Xiwen, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Chairman Mao was very familiar with Dong Xiwen and praised him as a "master oil painter".
On September 27, 1949, the Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference unanimously approved that the capital of the People's Republic of China would be set in Beiping and renamed Beijing with immediate effect. In order to celebrate the birth of the new China, it was decided that a grand opening ceremony would be held in the capital city of Beijing on October 1.
The CPC Central Committee attached great importance to the preparations for the Founding Ceremony, and set up the Preparatory Committee for the Founding Ceremony as early as July 1 of that year, with Zhou Enlai as the director and Peng Zhen, Lin Boqu, Nie Rongzhen and Li Weihan as deputy directors. Such an important celebration, the first issue is to select the venue.
When we study the site, the first two places to consider Tiananmen Square and Xiyuan Airport, and after a thorough comparison study, the final selection of Tiananmen Square. From the beginning of August, the Beiping municipal government quickly developed Tiananmen Square and the city building repair plan, the main tasks include refurbishing the square for mass gatherings, refurbishing the roads on East and West Chang'an Street, repairing the Tiananmen City Building.
One of the jobs here was to repaint a portrait of Chairman Mao to hang on the Tiananmen Tower. Why was this done? The Founding Committee gave the reason.
The Chinese Communist Party led the Chinese people to pave the way to the birth of the new China with flesh and blood. The victory was hard won, and the people finally overthrew the oppression of the "Three Great Mountains" and became masters of their own house. Hold a grand celebration, to be solemn, grand, warm, festive, all the work of the ceremony should be around this theme. The people's heart has a scale, no Communist Party Mao Zedong would not have a new China, hanging the statue of the President is the people's wish.
Zhou Enlai attached great importance to this matter, and he gave the task of painting the portrait of Chairman Mao to Zhou Lingzhao, a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Zhou Lingzhao was only 30 years old at the time, and he knew that this task was of great significance and was a great honor for him. He joined the Hunan Anti-Enemy Painting Association led by the Chinese Communist Party underground and used his brush as a gun to paint a large number of works on anti-war themes, which were once widely circulated on the front line of the war.
In April 1949, the Communist Party peace talks were held at the Six Nations Hotel in Beiping. The meeting needed to be set up beforehand, and Zhou took part in this task, so he painted a portrait of Chairman Mao. In his later years, Zhou recalled.
"I painted the portrait of Chairman Mao, not in color, but in black and white, in a very fine manner. Of course I drew with all my heart, but also with this photo - wearing an octagonal hat, smiling, especially the feeling of Chairman Mao smiling out of the painting. Background with big red, when the meeting was not as bright as the current light, lighter, red background, black and white image, looks very bright. After the meeting, the person who organized the meeting told me that everyone was very satisfied with my venue layout, and the portrait of Chairman Mao."
After this experience, Zhou Enlai nominated Zhou Lingzhao to be responsible for painting the portrait of Chairman Mao for the Founding Ceremony. Zhou also confessed: "Later people asked me: you have an oil painting department in the Academy of Fine Arts, and there are so many oil painters, how did you choose to paint the portrait of Chairman Mao for the founding ceremony in Tiananmen Square? I couldn't think of a reason, I said it might have something to do with the black and white color of Chairman Mao's portrait."
When Zhou received the task of painting Chairman Mao's portrait, it was only 20 days before the Founding Ceremony. With a tight schedule and a heavy task, Zhou and his new wife Chen Ruoju brought their tools to Tiananmen Square. The size of Chairman Mao's portrait (including the frame) was 6.4 meters in height and 5 meters in width, designed by the Beiping Art Studio according to the specifications of Tiananmen Square.
At that time, the conditions were simple, the first thing to consider this portrait to be hung on the walls, if it is painted with cloth such a huge portrait, it is easy to be broken by the wind, so it was used iron. But there is no such a large sheet of iron, Zhou Lingzhao's approach is to put together small pieces of iron, and then use the method of grid enlargement to draw a huge portrait of Chairman Mao's photo as a reference.
Which picture of Chairman Mao should I choose? Zhou Enlai looked for photos taken by Chairman Mao in different periods, and he also asked a cameraman to take a number of photos of Chairman Mao. When the secretary sent the photos to Chairman Mao to choose, Chairman Mao looked at them carefully, and he thought that the vast majority of them were specially taken and not quite suitable for hanging on Tiananmen Square.
Chairman Mao said to his secretary, "I don't like any of these serious photos; if my portrait must be hung on Tiananmen Square, it would be better to choose one from a random photo taken." When Zhou Enlai learned of Chairman Mao's idea, he sent someone to send Zhou Lingzhao several photographs taken by Chairman Mao during the war years.
Zhou chose a photo taken when Chairman Mao was in Yan'an. This photo was taken one morning in the fall of 1946, when Chairman Mao and Zhu Rui were walking along the Yan River, and photographer Zheng Jingkang captured a precise moment to capture it. After everything was ready, every day before dawn, Zhou and his wife came to Tiananmen Square with a few students.
In order to complete the task before the Founding Ceremony, they brought their own dry food and drew for a whole day. Zhou recalls, "Without equipment such as lifts and telescopes, there were indeed many difficulties in painting such a huge portrait. It was necessary to go up and down many times a day, looking close and far, and then making changes and retouching. This is mainly because when painting, you can't see the whole picture of the work, and you are working on the basis of experience and feeling."
After more than two weeks of hard work, the painting was finally successfully completed the day before the Founding Ceremony. In the evening, the then mayor of Beiping and director of the Beiping Military Control Commission Nie Rongzhen came to the scene to inspect, he carefully examined the portrait of Chairman Mao said: "the overall painting can be, also like, temperament is also very consistent. However, tomorrow is the Founding Ceremony, the Chairman's style of discipline buckle or buckle up good."
It was a very small problem and Zhou Lingzhao immediately used a paintbrush to smear the wind discipline buckle. When they got back in the evening, despite the day's exertions, Zhou Lingzhao was thrilled at the thought of going to the Founding Ceremony the next day. However, just as Zhou and his wife were about to fall asleep, a sharp knock came at the door.
The visitor was in a hurry, he informed Zhou Lingzhao that the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen needed to be revised, which was Zhou Enlai's request. It turned out that the bottom of the portrait of Chairman Mao had written "for the people" 5 words. Zhou Enlai is a very big deal, he took a little time that night to come to Tiananmen to check, he looked at the portrait of Chairman Mao that "for the people" word is too small, and the portrait as a whole is not coordinated, the word from a distance can not be seen, his opinion is immediately erased.
Zhou and his wife rushed back to Tiananmen late at night, because the original shelves had been dismantled, only temporary ladders could be built, and when the "for the people" was painted off and no trace could be seen, it was almost dawn. After a sleepless night, Mr. and Mrs. Zhou did not feel sleepy at all and came to Tiananmen Square with their wives and students in the afternoon to attend the founding ceremony.
When the Founding Ceremony was held, the people standing in Tiananmen Square were overwhelmed when they looked at the portrait of Chairman Mao. In the portrait, Chairman Mao is wearing an octagonal hat, his face is slightly sideways, his eyes are looking up, and the smile on his face gives a sense of cordiality, showing the temperament of the founding leader. According to information, there are 8 versions of the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square.
Before 1967, the portrait of Chairman Mao at Tiananmen Gate was not hung all year round, but only on major festivals, for about a week before and after. in August 1966, the central government decided that the portrait of Chairman Mao at Tiananmen Gate would be hung all year round, and decided to redraw a portrait, and to replace it with a new one every year before the National Day. this task was undertaken by Wang Guodong, a painter from the Beijing Fine Arts Company.
Wang Guodong was born in Beijing in June 1931. His family used to be the proprietor of the old casserole restaurant, so he was once known as the "young boss of the casserole restaurant". After the establishment of a joint venture in New China, Wang gave 17 sets of houses in his name to the Party as party dues, free of charge.
Previously, the painting of Chairman Mao's portrait was usually done by a master painter, plus a few assistants. Since the beginning of Wang Guodong, the portrait of Chairman Mao has only one painter. In order to ensure the quality of the portrait, the relevant departments in the back side of Tiananmen Square also built a tall tin shed, but also set up a leader portrait painting group.
At that time, in addition to painting the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen Square, Wang Guodong also needed to paint the portrait he learned when holding large events, for which he recruited a group of students. The portrait of Chairman Mao painted by Wang Guodong was very different from the previous seven versions. He paid great attention to the expression of the eyes, and through the combination of Chinese and Western methods, he made the portrait of Chairman Mao show the leader's poise and grace, making it unforgettable to see.
If you have been to Tiananmen Square, you will find that standing in front of the portrait of Chairman Mao any position to watch, will always feel by the portrait of Chairman Mao's gaze. Why is this? This is not a mysterious phenomenon, this portrait of Chairman Mao is a flat portrait, eyes flat in front. If the basic skills of the painter are in place, and can also accurately express the demeanor of the figure, such an effect will occur.
After Wang retired, his student Ge Xiaoguang took over the task of painting Chairman Mao's portrait to this day. Ge Xiaoguang draws the same version of Chairman Mao as Wang Guodong, drawing one every year and replacing the old one on the eve of the National Day. As the portrait of Chairman Mao hangs all year round, many people are not surprised to see it.
However, as the country opened up to the outside world, the number of public portraits of Chairman Mao across the country declined, a change that drew the attention of the Western media. Against this backdrop, Farage came to China with a request for an exclusive interview with Deng Xiaoping. Farage's interview style was aggressive and sharp, and he would not rest until he achieved his goal.
The Times was very critical of Farage: "Among the world's leading political figures Farage has interviewed, few have not been hurt by her ...... Her approach is deliberately unsettling, and she challenges each interviewee with well-researched stimuli. "
Deng Xiaoping is interviewed by Farage in Hall 118 of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Aug. 21, 1980. Before it officially began, Farage made an unreasonable request for an exclusive interview, to which Deng Xiaoping exceptionally agreed. After the official start, the only people on the scene were Deng Xiaoping, Qian Qichen of the Information Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Farage, translator Shi Yanhua and a recorder.
Immediately afterwards came the scene at the beginning of this article, when Farage asked about the portrait of Chairman Mao in Tiananmen. Deng Xiaoping was rare serious, he said categorically: "Forever to keep!" Seeing that Farage seemed unsatisfied with his answer, Deng further said.
"In the past, Chairman Mao's portraits were hung too much everywhere, which is not a very serious thing, and this does not show respect for Chairman Mao ...... from the feelings of our Chinese people, we will always remember him as the founder of our party and country. "
Deng Xiaoping added: "(Chairman Mao) has saved the Party and the country from crises many times. Without Chairman Mao, at least we Chinese people would have had to grope in the dark for a longer time. Chairman Mao's greatest merit was to combine the principles of Marxism-Leninism with the reality of the Chinese revolution and to point out the way for China to seize revolutionary victory."
For such a reply, Farage could not refute anything more. After the first meeting, Deng Xiaoping, seeing that Farage was still not satisfied, offered to talk again. Two days later, they talked for another two hours. When the meeting was over, Deng Xiaoping smiled as he said goodbye to Farage and asked, "How was it? I passed the exam, didn't I?" And Farage replied, "Wonderful!"
Shortly after Farage's departure from China, various Western University media outlets published the full text of Farage's interview with Deng Xiaoping on the front page, which attracted a great deal of attention from the West and an understanding of China's policy of reform and opening up. Years later, Farage remembered the interview vividly, saying, "Among the national leaders I interviewed, none could talk about historical issues as frankly and deeply as Deng Xiaoping."
Nowadays it may be difficult for us to see the portrait of Chairman Mao in the streets and alleys, but Chairman Mao will always live in our hearts!