Mao Yan (b.1968, Hunan Province, China) is considered as one of China's outstanding contemporary portrait artists. Under his father's influence, Mao Yan began studying painting at an early age. By the time he was a teenager he had already mastered advanced techniques, and his talent was recognized even before he was admitted to the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In 1991, after graduating from the Oil Painting Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Mao Yan began teaching at Nanjing University of the Arts, where he began to delve into portraiture. In his article Explorations in Realism, renowned art critic Li Xianting named Mao Yan as the representative of Chinese Neo-realism, stating that his works depict the 'portraits of a generation whose emotions are gradually disappearing.'