Chinese artist Leng Jun is a master of hyperrealism creating stunningly lifelike portraits. The skilled painter is most renowned for his meticulous oil paintings of ladies in which every strand of hair and fiber of garment is meticulously reproduced. Leng, who was born in 1963 grew up amid a period of enormous economic reform known as China’s Opening. This significant societal shift and the Western influences it brought had a significant impact on his paintings.
Since he was a child he had been interested in painting and began experimenting with oil paint in middle school. Even though oil paints were not commonly accessible in China at the time a friend gave him a few colors to try out. These early experiments stayed with him and he continued his studies with a continual stream of material from the West shaping and molding him as a painter.
“For people like me who were born around the 1960s, we were teenagers at the time when we formed our worldview. That was a great opportunity. Looking back, reform and opening-up saved the soul of our generation,” Leng added. “At the time information coming from the West greatly contributed to the enlightenment of our people. It also laid a very solid foundation for my later creations.”
His work went viral after his 2004 oil painting titled Mona Lisa despite his previous reputation as an artist. The ideas of Leonardo da Vinci’s renowned painting were used to create this photorealistic image of a woman, however, it shows a modern woman. This was followed by a succession of photorealistic female portraits each more detailed than the one before. The fine brush strokes that pull out each facet of the sitter can be appreciated by looking at the details.
While some have criticized the paintings for seeming too much like photographs Leng insists that anyone who sees them in person would not be fooled. He doesn’t want to compete with or duplicate an image; instead, he wants to expand the boundaries of his work. He has been able to impact people all around the world by mixing technical competence with the ability to bring emotion to his paintings.
“I want to push my painting skills to a higher level. What is the most difficult thing? To paint people,” Leng explained CGNT. “For example, still life or rusted metals they’re not something we see every day. People deal with people the most and people are most familiar with people. To portray people and make others believe is the hardest thing.”
Leng Jun is a Chinese painter who specializes in hyper realistic female portraits.
Every aspect of the model is meticulously created, from wisps of hair to garment fibers.
Mona Lisa, a 2004 oil painting by Leng was his first attempt at photorealism.
He has continued his hyper realistic work over many incredibly successful artworks.
Watch Leng Jun paint his realistic portraits in these stunning demos.