Landscape after Dong Yuan, Juran, Ma Yuan, and Xia Gui

Li Zai Chinese

Not on view

This landscape of swirling, fantastic mountains has puzzled scholars. The painting is signed “Li Zai of Putian,” a painter who lived during the fifteenth century, but its style clearly places it in the seventeenth century or later. Also, the artist’s inscription mentions the sixteenth-century collector Xiang Yuanbian, so it was obviously not intended to be a forgery of the fifteenth-century Li Zai, but the possibility of another painter by that name from the same hometown is unlikely. Whoever this Li Zai was, he was daring: as he states in the inscription, this painting is an attempt to combine the disparate styles of several old masters—Dong Yuan and Juran of the tenth century and Ma Yuan and Xia Gui of the thirteenth—and the results are fresh and unusual.

Landscape after Dong Yuan, Juran, Ma Yuan, and Xia Gui, Li Zai (Chinese, active 17th century) ?, Handscroll; ink and color on paper, China

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