Gigantic work of art has no place to go

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After a popular week-long exhibition in Hanoi ended on March 5, a giant painting depicting the war now has no home.

Hanoi, chien luy va hoa (Hanoi, defense system and flowers), a 2.25m x 9.6m painting, portrays Hanoi during the 60-day battle between the Viet Minh resistance fighters and the French colonial army from December 19, 1946 until February 18, 1947.

The battle, launched by Vietnamese nationalists resisting France's re-invasion of the country after Vietnam had gained independence at the end of WWII, began what became known as the First Indochina War.

Artist Nguyen Doan Son, who painted the picture, said neither an art museum nor a library had opened its doors to the work.

Some critics have not given the work all high marks.

While most have praised the painting for its elaborate recreation of the capital during the winter of 1946, some have said light is not treated well enough and that too many ideas are expressed at once, making it too complicated to enjoy.

Son started work on the picture in 2007 and finished it in January this year. A first draft of the picture won a prize in 2008.

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