(Chinese, active mid-1600s)
Handscroll, ink and color on paper
Overall: 25.5 x 717.5 cm (10 1/16 x 282 1/2 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1970.3
A sweeping vista of energized mountains, hills, small islands, sand bars, and rivers, this painting retains a simple coherence of ideas and images. Its inspiration comes from Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), the great master of the Yuan dynasty, whose famous Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains has a similar structure, but is much more diverse and varied in its composition. Here, the basic elements of trees, rocks, and hills are repeated in differing scales at varying distances, contributing to the essential rhythm of the painting. Born in Huating (Shanghai), Gu Tianzhi inherited a tradition of painting that was molded under the guiding light of Dong Qichang (1555–1636), an eminent theoretician of the late Ming dynasty and the spokesman for the orthodox heritage that ruled Chinese painting for more than 300 years.