Landscapes after Song and Yuan masters

Lan Ying Chinese

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Lan Ying was a breaker of boundaries. Dong Qichang and his cohort, the leading tastemakers of Lan’s day, tended to look down on painters who relied on virtuoso skill and flashy brushwork, preferring directness and simplicity. Lan, a prolific and skilled professional artist, nevertheless won them over, transcending his status as a professional and gaining provisional entry into the class of scholar-painters. Lan adopted Dong’s practice of making old-masters albums, and this is one of his finest. Here, Lan marries his eye for dramatic composition to an uncharacteristic restraint in brushwork, avoiding his more typical strong, angular forms that would have raised eyebrows among literati critics.

Landscapes after Song and Yuan masters, Lan Ying (Chinese, 1585–1664), Album of twelve leaves; ink and color on paper, China

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