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.
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明 藍瑛 仿宋元山水圖 冊
Title:Landscapes after Song and Yuan masters
Artist:Lan Ying (Chinese, 1585–1664)
Period:Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Medium:Album of twelve leaves; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:12 7/16 x 9 3/4 in. (31.6 x 24.8 cm)
Credit Line:The Sackler Fund, 1970
Inscription: Artist's inscriptions and signatures
Leaf A (1 column in semi-cursive script, dated 1642):
Painted in the style of Li Xianxi [Li Cheng, 919–967] in a cottage at Pingshan. A literatus by the West Lake, Lan Ying, on a springday in the renwu year .
Leaf B (1 column in semi-cursive script):
The painting method of Fan Huayuan [Fan Kuan, active ca. 990–1030]. Lan Ying
Leaf C (3 columns in semi-cursive script):
In the manner of Zhao Lingrang (active ca. 1070– after 1100). Presented to the venerable Eryou [Jiang Shaoshu, active mid-17th c.] for his instruction. Lan Ying
Leaf D (3 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1642):
As the sky cleared after the rain in a springday of the renwu year, I painted Mi Nangong’s [Mi Fu, 1051–1107] Fresh Dawn on the Chu Mountains. Lan Ying
Leaf E (4 columns in semi-cursive script):
It’s been thirty years since I followed my friend Eryou to view Gao Kegong’s (1248–1310) painting at Sun Hanyang’s [Sun Kehong, 1533–1611] Dunfu Tang Studio. I painted this in imitation of it. It is somewhat startling to reflect on the years passed. Ying
Leaf F (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
Painted to capture Cao Yunxi’s [Cao Zhibai, died 1355] ideas for Master Eryou’s instruction. Lan Ying
Leaf G (5 columns in semi-cursive script):
Painted with the method of Dachi’s [Huang Gongwang, 1269–1354] Scenic Views along Streams and Mountains for Master Eryou’s discernment. Ying
觀大癡 《江山勝覽》 卷法，似二酉先生鋻定。瑛
Leaf H (2 columns in standard and semi-cursive scripts, dated 1642):
Painted in the second month of spring of the renwu year by Diesou, Lan Ying. 壬午春二月蜨叟藍瑛畫。
Leaf I (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
Having viewed a small painting by Meihua [Wu Zhen, 1280–1354], I painted this with his method. Lan Ying
Leaf J (3 columns in clerical script and 1 column in semi-cursive script):
Painted after the Woodcutter of Mt. Huanghe [Wang Meng, ca. 1308–1385]. Lan Ying 黃鶴山樵畫。藍瑛
Leaf K (1 column in semi-cursive script, dated 1642):
Painted in the spring, the first month, of the renwu year by Lan Ying.
Leaf L (2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1642):
Painted in a guest house in Guangling [Yangzhou] on the fifteenth of the first month of the renwu year. Lan Ying presented this to the venerable Eryou for his instruction.
Ying 瑛 (Leaf A, B, I, L) Ying, Tianshu 瑛, 田叔 (Leaf C, D, G, H, J, K) Lan Ying 藍瑛 (Leaf E, F,) Tianshu shi 田叔氏 (Leaf E, F, L)
 All translations are from Department records.
Richard B. Hobart , Cambridge, MA (by 1959 until d. 1963, posthumous sale at Parke-Bernet, the Richard Bryant Hobart collection of Chinese ceramics & paintings, part 2, December 12, 1969, New York, lot 273, to MMA)
University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "The Restless Landscape: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Period," November 9, 1971–January 2, 1972.
Princeton University. "Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Painting from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection in NY and Princeton," December 8, 1973–February 3, 1974.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Painting from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection in NY and Princeton," July 10, 1974–September 2, 1974.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Painting from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection in NY and Princeton," September 15, 1974–November 3, 1974.
University of Edinburgh, Scotland. "Edinburgh Festival," August 1, 1984–September 15, 1984.
New York. China House Gallery. "Kernels of Energy, Bones of Earth," October 23, 1985–January 29, 1986.
Cambridge. Fitzwilliam Museum. "Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection," April 15, 1986–June 29, 1986.
New York. China Institute in America. "The Life of a Patron: Zhou Lianggong and the Painters of 17th Century China," October 19, 1996–December 21, 1996.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Brush: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy," March 12–August 14, 2005.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Art of the Chinese Album," September 6, 2014–March 29, 2015.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Streams and Mountains without End: Landscape Traditions of China," August 26, 2017–January 6, 2019.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Learning to Paint in Premodern China," February 18, 2023–January 7, 2024 on view February 18–July 16, 2023.
Goepper, Roger, and Tseng Yu-ho. 1000 Jahre Chinesische Malerei (1000 Years of Chinese Painting). Exh. cat. Zurich: Kunsthaus Zürich, 1960, pp. 138–39, cat. no. 78.
Cahill, James. The Distant Mountains: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Dynasty, 1570–1644. New York: Weatherhill, 1982, pp. 186–203, pl. 12.
Suzuki Kei 鈴木敬, ed. Chûgoku kaiga sogo zuroku: Daiikan, Amerika-Kanada Hen 中國繪畫總合圖錄: 第一卷 アメリカ - カナダ 編 (Comprehensive illustrated catalog of Chinese paintings: vol. 1 American and Canadian collections) Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1982, p. 17, cat. no. A1-089.
Gao Juhan (James Cahill) 高居翰. Shan wai shan: wan Ming huihua 1570–1644 山外山：晚明繪畫（1570–1644) (The distant mountains: Chinese painting of the late Ming dynasty, 1570–1644) Translated by Wang Jiaji 王嘉驥. Taipei: Shitou chuban gongsi, 1997, p. 251.
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