The Eccentric World of Luo Ping

Luo Ping (1733—1799) was one of the most versatile, original, and celebrated artists in eighteenth-century China. The youngest of the so-called Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou, he was a fiercely independent artist whose works—including portraits, landscapes, and flower paintings—deeply influenced the course of later Chinese painting. This is only the eighth time a Western museum has devoted a show to a single Chinese painter, and the first time Luo Ping has received an exhibit.

Curator Maxwell Hearn discusses Luo's prodigious body of work, which developed during major shifts that characterize eighteenth-century Chinese painting. Paintings were still usually commissioned by patrons, and, as is typical of the artist-patron dynamic, the painter often pushed back against his benefactor, giving the work an edgy quality. The eighteenth century also saw a transformation in the Chinese approach to portraiture. Until this point, portraiture had never been signed, had never before been considered high art, much less representative of the spirit or even the humanity of the individual portrayed. All this changes with the work of Luo Ping. Hearn's descriptions of Luo's life and work reveal reflections of the momentous changes that were taking place in Chinese arts and culture.

Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Curator, Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Learn more about the exhibition Eccentric Visions: The Worlds of Luo Ping (1733-1799):

Learn more about Chinese painting under the Qing dynasty on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:

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