This Artist’s Oil Paintings of Women Are Considered the Most Realistic in the World

Hyperrealistic Painting by Leng Jun

Creating portraits that are startlingly lifelike, Chinese artist Leng Jun is a master of hyperrealism. The accomplished painter is particularly known for his detailed oil paintings of women, where every wisp of hair and fiber of clothing is rendered to perfection. Born in 1963, Leng came of age during a time of great economic reform known as the Opening of China. This great cultural change, and the Western influences it introduced, greatly influenced his art.

Interested in painting from a young age, he first experimented with oil paint while in middle school. Though no oil paints were readily available in China at the time, a friend gave him a few colors to experiment with. These early experiments stayed with him and so he continued his studies with a steady flow of information from the West helping to shape and mold 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 really saved the soul of our generation,” said Leng. “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.”

Though he was well respected as an artist prior, it was after his 2004 oil painting titled Mona Lisa that his work went viral. This photorealistic portrait of a woman was based on the principles of Leonardo da Vinci's iconic painting but depicts a modern woman. This work was followed by a series of photorealistic portraits of women, each more detailed than the next. By examining the details, one can appreciate the precise brushstrokes that pull out each aspect of the sitter.

While there is some criticism that these works look too much like photographs, Leng maintains that anyone seeing the paintings in person won't be deceived. It's not his intent to compete with or imitate a photograph, but rather he'd like to push his art to its limits. By balancing technical skill with the ability to bring emotion to his paintings, he's been able to touch people around the world.

“I want to push my painting skills to a higher level. What is the most difficult thing? To paint people,” Leng told 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.”

Chinese painter Leng Jun is known for his hyperrealistic portraits of women.

Hyperrealistic Painting by Leng Jun Photorealism by Leng Jun

Every detail of the model, from wisps of hair to fibers of clothing, is rendered with precise detail.

Photorealistic Art by Leng Jun Photorealistic Art by Leng Jun Hyperrealistic Oil Painting by Leng Jun Hyperrealistic Oil Painting by Leng Jun Photorealism by Leng Jun Hyperrealistic Oil Painting by Leng Jun

Leng's first foray into photorealism was his 2004 oil painting, Mona Lisa.

Hyperrealistic Painting by Leng Jun

He has continued his hyperrealistic work across a series of paintings that have been highly successful.

Hyperrealistic Oil Painting by Leng Jun Photorealism by Leng Jun Hyperrealistic Painting by Leng Jun Hyperrealistic Painting by Leng Jun Photorealism by Leng Jun

Watch these incredible demonstrations of Leng Jun painting his realistic portraits.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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