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Landscapes of the Four Seasons

Lan Ying (Chinese, 1585–1664)

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
dated 1650
Culture:
China
Medium:
Set of 12 hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper with gold leaf
Dimensions:
Image: each 65 3/4 x 17 9/16 in. (167 x 44.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Lent by The Chih Lo Lou Collection, Hong Kong
  • Description

    A professional painter with a successful career in Hangzhou, Lan Ying was acquainted with several members of the educated elite and acquired enough of their aesthetics to have devoted most of his creative energy to painting in scholarly idioms. In this spectacular set of seasonal landscapes, each scroll evokes the style of a different ancient master.

    The accuracy of Lan’s interpretations is sometimes hard to discern. More compelling and consistent are his own technical virtuosity and predilection for dramatic compositional effects. Foreground trees are always superb manifestations of his painterly craft. Comfortably shifting between the descriptive and the expressive modes, the diverse trees with their vivaciously gestural bodies and diverse foliage patterns provide sustained visual excitement as one progresses through the seasons.

    Lan Ying has inscribed each painting with a title and his source of inspiration (from right to left):

    “Spring Dawn on the Peach Blossom Spring,” [after] a painting
    by Zhao Mengfu [1254–1322]

    “Elegant Dwellings of the Immortals,” after Jing Hao
    [active ca. 870–ca. 930]

    “Pure Shades in a Misty Vale,” after Juran’s [active ca. 960–85]
    “Xiao Yi Seizing the Lanting Manuscript through Trickery”

    “Gurgling Spring in a Wooded Vale,” after Huang Gongwang
    [1269–1354]

    “Layered Peaks with Towering Trees,” after Yan Wengui
    [active ca. 970–1030]; mid-summer, the gengyin year [1650]

    “Fisherman’s Flute by the Riverbank,” after Guo Xi
    [ca. 1000–ca. 1090]

    “Pure Streams in High Summer,” in the manner of Wu Zhen
    [1280–1354]

    “Boating Together down an Autumn Stream,” after Wang Meng
    [1308–1385]

    “Reminiscing the Ancient Past on an Autumn Mountain,”
    after Fan Kuan [ca. 960–ca. 1030]

    “Hoary Temple in Deep Green Mountains,” after Li Cheng
    [919–967]; mid-summer, the gengyin year [1650]
    “Riverbank Trees against Distant Peaks,” after Ni Zan
    [1306–1374]

    “Drifting Snow over Chilly Mountains,” after Wang Wei [701–761]

    cat. no. 12

  • Provenance

    Ho Iu-kwong (He Yaoguang) Chinese, 1907–2006

76485:2

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