Thursday, 2 October 2014

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Song Legacy and The Yuan Legacy

Detail, Hostelry in the Mountains, mid- to late 12th century; Yan Ciyu, (Chinese, active 1160s-1180s); Southern Song dynasty; Ink and color on silk; China; Purchase F1935.10

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Song Legacy

May 17–October 26, 2014
Freer Gallery of Art  Washington USA

Landscape painting is one of the outstanding achievements of Chinese culture. While the tradition has a long history reaching back to the third century, it was during the roughly four hundred-year period from the Five Dynasties (907–960) to the Song dynasty (960–1279) that its characteristic styles and techniques emerged. This exhibition showcases a group of the Freer’s best Song dynasty landscape paintings along with later works that illustrate the evolution of six different styles. A subsequent exhibition will explore developments during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368).

Ten Thousand Li Along the Yangzi River


Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy


Chinese Art


Press Release
Press Images (PDF)

Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Yuan Legacy

November 22, 2014–May 31, 2015
Freer Gallery of Art Washington USA

A tradition dating to the third century, landscape painting is one of the most outstanding achievements of Chinese culture. Key styles in this genre emerged during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) and are still followed today. This exhibition presents six important styles, including five new ones developed by individual Yuan masters and a continuation of an earlier style. While surviving works from the Yuan are rare, whenever possible, the exhibition includes the earliest work in the Freer|Sackler collections together with later examples tracing the distinct characteristics and evolution of each style.
The Yuan dynasty came to power through Mongol military conquest, and many Song dynasty loyalists in southern China resisted serving the foreign regime. Out of this rebellious region, a class of scholar-painters emerged that created art not for rulers or leaders, but mainly for themselves and for each other. These literati championed different ideals than their predecessors, valuing personal and philosophical expression rather than needs and tastes of the imperial court. 
Five masters in particular, all southern Chinese literati, created unique styles that had a profound impact on the centuries of Chinese landscape painting to follow: Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322), Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), Wu Zhen (1280–1354), Ni Zan (1301/06– 1374), and Wang Meng (ca. 1308–1385).  
This exhibition is the second in a series of two exhibitions—Style in Chinese Landscape Painting: The Song Dynasty is on view through October 26—marking the first time in thirty years a U.S. museum has looked purely at style in Chinese landscape painting. The Freer Gallery possesses one of the most important collections of Chinese painting outside Asia, with many of its works from the Song and Yuan dynasties holding near-iconic status. Many of these works are viewable on the museums’ web resource Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting Collection.

For some images, click HERE

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