Art/ Collection/ Art Object

明 鍾禮 觀瀑圖 軸
Scholar looking at a waterfall

Artist:
Zhong Li (Chinese, active ca. 1480–1500)
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
late 15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
Image: 70 x 40 5/8 in. (177.8 x 103.2 cm) Overall with mounting: 10 ft. 5 1/2 in. × 49 5/8 in. (318.8 × 126 cm) Overall with knobs: 10 ft. 5 1/2 in. × 53 1/4 in. (318.8 × 135.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
From the P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Family Collection, Gift of Oscar L. Tang, 1991
Accession Number:
1991.438.4
Not on view
Nearly three hundred years after the death of the Song academician Ma Yuan (act. ca. 1190–1225), a Ming emperor proudly declared Zhong Li to be Ma Yuan reborn. Indeed, Zhong's works, painted in a typically bold, breezy, almost contemptuous manner, represent the end of the Ma Yuan tradition. Brought to this level of large-scale power, directness, and nearly total absence of subtlety or nuance, the tradition of Ma Yuan perhaps could not evolve further. Zhong Li was among the last great court painters in this lineage.

This strongly painted composition, the best known of Zhong Li's signed works, is a classic Ming academic-style picture; it continues Dai Jin's (1388–1462) monumental refiguration of the Southern Song academic manner. The interior dynamics are even more spectacular than in earlier works in the tradition, from the explosive energies of the plunging waterfall and dramatically towering cliff face to the twisted pines coiling out like springs from the stone walls. There is also something quite imperial in the pose of the seated figure on the garden terrace, leaning back like the master of his universe to observe the potent forces of nature as they conduct a special performance for him alone.
Inscription: Artist’s signature (1 column in semi-cursive script)

Qinli

欽禮No artist’s seal

Collector’s seal

Unidentified
Guilin Jin Yu 桂林金裕
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Imperial Painting of the Ming Dynasty: The Zhe School," March 10, 1993–May 9, 1993.

Dallas Museum of Art. "Imperial Painting of the Ming Dynasty: The Zhe School," June 6, 1993–August 1, 1993.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Resonant Image: Tradition in Japanese Art (Part One)," 1997–98.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Text and Image: The Interaction of Painting, Poetry, and Calligraphy," January 23, 1999–August 16, 1999.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Scholars' Rocks: Gardens, Studios, and Paintings," February 1, 2000–August 20, 2000.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cultivated Landscapes: Reflections of Nature in Chinese Painting with Selections from the Collection of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill," September 10, 2002–February 9, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Great Waves: Chinese Themes in the Arts of Korea and Japan I," March 1, 2003–September 21, 2003.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bridging East and West: The Chinese Diaspora and Lin Yutang," September 15, 2007–February 10, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection II," May 7, 2016–October 11, 2016.

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