明 呂紀 鴛鴦芙蓉圖 軸 Mandarin ducks and cotton rose hibiscus
Lü Ji (Chinese, active late 15th century)
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Image: 68 x 39 in. (172.7 x 99.1 cm)
Overall with mounting: 116 1/4 x 40 1/4 in. (295.3 x 102.2 cm)
Overall with knobs: 116 1/4 x 44 1/2 in. (295.3 x 113 cm)
Ex coll.: C. C. Wang Family, Gift of Oscar L. Tang Family, 2005
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 215
Lü Ji, a professional painter from Zhejiang Province, worked in the Southern Song (1127–1279) ink-wash style, which had remained popular in that region through the intervening centuries. He was summoned to be a court painter in the Hongzhi period (1488-1505) and was given an honorary title as an officer in the Imperial Guard.
The artist's paintings, done in a dashing, descriptive style highly regarded at court, were derided by Shen Zhou (1427–1509), the leading scholar-painter of the time, as being merely works "of the hand"; Shen considered his own calligraphic drawings to be products "of the heart." he contrast between the "hand" and the "heart" points up the presumed difference between the works of the "professional" artists and those of the "scholar-amateur" painters of the Ming period.
Inscription: Artist’s signature (1 column in semi-cursive script)