Spring Clouds at the Pine Studio

Zhang Yu Chinese

Not on view

A poet, calligrapher, and painter known as one of the Ten Friends of the North Wall, Zhang Yu lived in the Suzhou area before the end of the Yuan dynasty. He accepted an appointment in 1371 to serve the Ming, but despite the loyal services he performed his earlier friendships made him suspect in the eyes of the Ming founder, Zhu Yuanzhang (r. 1368–98), and he was eventually driven to suicide. This landscape, painted two years before the founding of the Ming dynasty, shows the artist in the peaceful state of mind of the recluse. In late Yuan painting the depiction of a thatched studio by a stream became popular as a symbol of the scholar's condition—a life in reclusion. Zhang Yu's poetic sensibility is expressed through the subtle use of ink wash and pale colors and in the suggestion of dense moisture-laden clouds dissipating after a spring shower. The descriptive realism of the work relates the painter to the more conservative styles of the early Yuan period; the horizontal black and blue-green "Mi" dots may have been inspired by Spring Mountains and Pines (National Palace Museum, Taipei), attributed to Mi Fu (1052–1107).

Spring Clouds at the Pine Studio, Zhang Yu (Chinese, 1333–1385), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, China

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.