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Landscape in the Style of Yan Wengui and Fan Kuan
(Chinese, active ca. 1350–75)
late Yuan (1271–1368)–early Ming (1368–1644) dynasty
Handscroll; ink on paper
Image: 9 13/16 x 30 1/2 in. (24.9 x 77.5 cm)
Overall with mounting: 10 1/8 x 347 5/16 in. (25.7 x 882.2 cm)
Edward Elliott Family Collection, Purchase, The Dillon Fund Gift, 1981
Not on view
Couched in the Northern Song idioms of Yan Wengui (active ca. 970–1030) and Fan Kuan (active ca. 990–1030), this small landscape by Zhao Yuan exemplifies late Yuan and early Ming scholar painting in which ancient models were transformed by calligraphic brushwork. Late Yuan scholar-artists saw painting as a vehicle for personal expression: painting, it was said, should be like handwriting—a “heart print” of the artist.Executed during a period of political and social turmoil, Zhao’s handscroll reflects a common theme found in paintings of his time: the reclusive life. A secluded mountain villa nestled at the foot of a tall peak suggests a serene existence free from worldly strife.Zhao Yuan, who lived in the south, re-created the towering mountains of the north through his imagination. The last fantastic peak near the far left of the composition was probably inspired by a garden rock—similar to one on display along the west wall of the Museum’s Astor Court.
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