Walter Miranda
Plastic Artist

Confucius and the Five Virtues of the Wise Man


Techinique: Oil + objects on wood

Dimensions: 73 X 69,5cm

Confucius and the Five Virtues of the Wise Man



Unesp, the University of the State of São Paulo, through a partnership with the Confucius Institute, invited 15 artists to participate in the "The eye on China" project. Each artist received from Unesp the book "The Analects", to read and create a work based on the teachings of Confucius.

Reading the book I realized that Confucius based  his teaching on three themes (study, friendship and nobleman) and that five factors are constant in his cognitive system of teachings, namely:


5 elements: metal, water, wood, fire and earth.

5 colors: white, black, green, red and yellow.

5 human qualities: gentle, kind, courteous, frugal and humble.

5 organs: lung, kidneys, liver, heart and spleen.

5 emotions: sadness, fear, irritability, joy and anxiety, reflection and concern.


Curiously, the elements are correlated with the colors: metal = white; water = black; wood = bluish green; Fire = red and earth = yellow.


Having this numerical principle in mind, I have idealized a geometric composition using rectangles and triangles which act as aesthetic elements and are always repeated in the same quantity. These rectangles and triangles serve as a basis for incorporating computer boards, Chinese ideograms representing the five emotions mentioned by Confucius, and visual references to the elements of nature; main colors; human qualities, etc.


In addition to Chinese, concepts I also had incorporated into the work Western concepts that I usually use in my paintings. So in each rectangle, I used silhouettes of dancers that direct the viewer's gaze to some visual elements present in each part of the work and in the center of I included a silhouette that resembles the Vitruvian man. In it I added a sixth ideogram that can be translated as "wise and intelligent man".


At the base of the painting I placed the silhouette of a computer, two hands holding a pen and a pencil, and I incorporated a pen, in an allusion that all the human qualities discussed by Confucius depend exclusively on education, no matter the time.


In the upper part of the painting I placed painted images of the planet earth, moon and the sun, a triad that follow my works long ago and tries to demonstrate that, above all, we are part of a system extremely harmonious and balanced and superior to our pretensions of mastery of nature.

Walter Miranda
Ateliê Oficina FWM de Artes
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