Hong Ren (1610-1664), one of the “Four Monks in Early Qing Dynasty,” was an influential painter in South China. Hong made a great contribution to the founding of the “Anhui Painting School” in early Qing Dynasty, thus winning the recognition as one of the “Four Master Painters of Xin’an.”
Hong had drawn reference to the painting styles of Ni Zan (1301-1374), one of the “Four Master Painters of the Yuan Dynasty.” But different from the simplicity and desolatenessof Ni’s landscapes, Hong added his concern of worldly affairs by depicting the real landscape of mountains and rivers. Hong was especially good at painting Mount Huang, one of the “Four Most Famous Mountains”in China, based on his reclusive life in this mountain after the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Huang had created his own unique style in his paintings of Mount Huang by combining the genius ink language of previous masters such as Ni Zan and Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) and the real geographic features of the famous mountain.
This is the masterpiece of Hong’s Mount Huang paintings. On the left side of the painting erects a towering mountain ridge, from the slope of which several old pines sprouting out towards different directions. There are also several ridges standing on the right side, echoing the main ridge of the left. The painter, based on the genuine geographic features of Mount Huang, refined the layers of ridges, deep valleys and old pines, what he had observed in his own travels in the mountain, revealing his artistic pursuit of “expressing the real temperament of Mount Huang.”