The capital city has been a subject for many generations of artists throughout time. Despite being defaced by rapid urbanization and globalization, the town still features old and new charms that have been shown in contemporary art works of young artists.

Simple beauty

An artwork in series of paintings “Sunny alley” by Pham Anh. 

Painters, either on the street or in their gallery, are drawing the movements of Hanoi’s streets and life to depict the daily transformation of the capital city.

One of them is Pham Anh. Born in 1983 in Hanoi, he did a lot of research on schools of art when he was a student with the aim of finding out the “features” of his generation. His works depict vividly about life in the alleys of Hanoi.

In particular, his series of paintings “Sunny alley” earns huge admiration, thanks to its nice combination of colors and the new view of Hanoi’s alleys that show the life and people there in all four seasons.

The simple alleys in Hanoi are something ordinary to many people, but they are vividly beautiful to Pham Anh.

“As a child of Hanoi, I want to paint simple and modest things in daily life. Alleys are something ordinary to many people but they are beautiful to me. Through my series of paintings about Hanoi alleys, I want to prove that beauty is not only something luxurious or magnificent but it is right next to us, from very simple things,” painter Pham Anh said.

Not only Pham Anh but also many other painters have uncovered the diverse beauties of Hanoi in the same way. 

One of them, Pham Binh Chuong has an expression style to depict Hanoi’s streets, also his homeland. He has held three exhibitions titled “Down to the street” and all have been widely acclaimed. His oil painting realism bring back an old Hanoi, with mossy roofs and quiet streets.

Pham Binh Chuong has an expression style to depict Hanoi’s streets, also his homeland.

Also inspired by Hanoi streets, painter Nguyen Ngoc Dan focus on illustrating bunches of electric wire and light posts in Hanoi.

Observing daily life every day, painter Nguyen Ngoc Dan said he noticed every slight transformation of Hanoi streets. As authorities are burying electric cables to improve the aesthetics of the street, the painter feels an inherent image of Hanoi has been lost so he feels that he needs to keep this special tangled charm in his paintings. 

Another thrilling oild painting themed Hanoi by Pham Binh Chuong.

Contributing to spiritual values

There are dozens of artists of all ages painting on the topic of life in Hanoi yesterday, today and tomorrow such as Dao Hai Phong, Pham Van Trung, Hoang Dinh Tai, Hoang Hung, Van Duong Thanh, Hoang Nam Thai, Ngo Thanh Nhan, Nguyen Van Tuan, Nguyen Xuan Luc, Pham Quang Viet.

Among them, many are not from Hanoi. Like painter Thanh Thuc, born in the northern province of Nam Dinh but residing in Hanoi for decades, she paints Hanoi as a way to contribute to the spiritual values of the thousand-year-old city. It is her joy honoring the capital, also the pride of every artist, as she shared her feeling. 

Over the past 30 years, painter Thanh Thuc has focused on Hoan Kiem Lake, Turtle Tower, streets with ranges of trees changing color in winter or young pretty girls in ao dai (traditional dress) in spring.

An oil painting by Dao Hai Phong. 

Sharing the same inspiration to Hanoi, painter Le Thi Hoan, together with other painters, held the exhibition “Red River’s Wind” in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to introduce the beauty of the capital city of the period 2017-2019 to the public across the country.

According to her, every person who loves Hanoi has his or her own way to feel about Hanoi. From the “materials” of life, each artist find different ways to portray the peculiarities of Hanoi.

Hanoi, the cultural center of the country, is a fertile land, nurturing talents. Throughout history, the capital of thousands of years of culture has increasingly enriched with lively paintings and dedicated and Hanoi loving painters.