Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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明 文徵明 樓居圖軸
Living Aloft: Master Liu's Retreat

Artist:
Wen Zhengming (Chinese, 1470–1559)
Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
1543
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 37 1/2 x 18 in. (95.3 x 45.7 cm)
Overall with mounting: 82 1/8 x 25 1/4 in. (208.6 x 64.1 cm)
Overall with knobs: 82 1/8 x 29 5/8 in. (208.6 x 75.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Bequest of Marie-Hélène and Guy Weill, in honor of Wen C. Fong, 2015
Accession Number:
2017.327.2
Not on view
Wen Zhengming painted Living Aloft for his friend Liu Lin (1474–1561), who, at the age of seventy, had retired from government service but had not yet built a home suitable for his new life. Wen's painting presents an idealized vision of life in retirement: separated from the outside world by a stream and a rustic wall, two friends enjoy each other's company in a two-story hall that is further isolated in a tall grove of trees. Wen elaborates on the pleasures of such a life in his accompanying poem:

Immortals have always delighted in pavilion-living,
Windows open on eight sides-eyebrows smiling.
Up above towers and halls well up,
Down below, clouds and thunder are vaguely sensed.
Reclining on a dais, a glimpse of Japan,
Leaning on a balustrade, the sight of Manchuria.
While worldly affairs shift and change,
In their midst a lofty man is at ease.

(After Ling-yün Shih Liu, trans., in Richard Edwards et al., The Art of Wen Cheng-ming [1470–1559] [Ann Arbor: Museum of Art, University of Michigan, 1976], p. 150)
#7608. Living Aloft: Master Liu's Retreat
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Inscription: Artist’s inscription and signature (9 columns in standard script)

僲客從來好閣居,窗開八面眼眉舒。
上方臺殿隆隆起,下界雲雷隱隱虛。
隱几便能窺日本,憑欄真可見扶餘。
摠然世事多翻覆,中有高人只晏如。

南坦劉先生[劉麟,1474-1561]謝政歸,而欲為樓居之念,其高尚可知矣。樓雖未成,余賦一詩並寫其意以先之。它日張之座右,亦樓居之一助也。時嘉靖癸卯秋七月既望徵明識。

Artist's seals

衡山
文徵明
玉蘭堂
徵仲

Collectors' seals

Zhao Song 趙松 (1464–?)
洪溪趙松鑑藏書畫印

Unidentified
澹生
鐵嶺瑛棨平生真賞
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.

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. "Chinese Painting, Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," August 28, 2004–February 20, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Journeys: Mapping the Earth and Mind in Chinese Art," February 10, 2007–August 26, 2007.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Anatomy of a Masterpiece: How to Read Chinese Paintings," March 1, 2008–August 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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