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Literature Chapter 4 - Landscape of the Soul

This article will help you to learn about the summary, characters and themes in chapter 4, NCERT Class 11 English Hornbill – Landscape of the Soul. It will help you to understand the gist of the story and important phases in this story.


This story is a beautiful illustration of art by the author. In this chapter, you will see different art forms being compared and the interpretation of these paintings from the artist’s perspective. The author tries to show a comparison of the different art forms based on regions. This chapter deals with stories and myths circulating famous paintings in ancient times. The focus is laid on how realistic the paintings were and how beautifully created.

Character List

  • Wu Daozi – A painter who lived in the eighth century. His painting was a landscape and was commissioned by Tang Emperor Xuanzong.

  • Quinten Metsis – Master Blacksmith, who fell in love with a painter’s daughter. As he knew, the girl’s father wouldn’t accept a guy with such a profession, he painted a fly with such profession that he was accepted as an apprentice at the studio.


In this story Landscape of the Soul, the author presents two instances of paintings to show the beauty and difference in the perception of painters. The first instance is about a Chinese painter who paints a landscape with at most precision for the Emperor.
The Emperor appreciates the outer beauty of the painting, but the artist reveals to him the true meaning of his work. As the story proceeds, it conveys that the Emperor may rule within the kingdom but the artist is the only one who knows his painting within. He is able to travel in his painting, whereas the Emperor is unable. It shows that the painter is able to imagine his painting with his perception, but the Emperor can only see what lies before the eyes and not within.

The second instance is about a blacksmith called Quinten Metsys. He falls in love with a painter’s daughter and realises that the painter will never accept a blacksmith to be his son-in-law. Quinten sneaks into the painter’s studio and paints a fly with such a realistic view, the painter accepts him as an apprentice in his studio. He eventually marries his beloved and becomes a famous painter.

This chapter makes you understand the importance of imagination and how painters have different perceptions. The art form need not be viewed according to a single perception, there can be many ways to imagine one single painting.

To know more on NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 4, and for ‘Landscape of the Soul’ NCERT Solutions, refer to NCERT Solutions for Class 11 English Hornbill Chapter 4 PDF.

Click on the links below to browse Class 11 English Chapter 4 – Landscape of the Soul question and answers. 

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