Boating amid Snowy Streams and Mountains

Lan Meng Chinese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 210

Like many professional painters trained in family workshops, Lan Meng carried on the style established by his famous father, Lan Ying (1585–ca. 1664). Based in his hometown of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province and center of the so-called Zhe school of commercial painting, Lan Meng specialized in monumental landscapes executed in mineral pigments on silk, but he also created intimate works on paper in the styles of fourteenth-century scholar-artists.

Lan Meng's extant paintings date from 1643 to 1671; during the mid-1660s, he worked in the capital city of Beijing, where this painting was created. Snowscapes, featuring white pigment highlights on tree branches, were a particular specialty. Typically, Lan Meng attributed his inspiration to the Tang-dynasty poet-painter Wang Wei (699–759), whom the late Ming painter and critic Dong Qichang (1555–1636) regarded as the patriarch of scholar painting. But no reliable work by Wang had survived into the seventeenth century. Instead, Lan Meng evoked his memory by combining a tenth-century composition—tall mountains alongside a deep recession—with a landscape idiom derived from the scholar-painter Huang Gongwang (1269–1354).

Boating amid Snowy Streams and Mountains, Lan Meng (ca. 1614–after 1671), Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk, China

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