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This painting is the masterpiece of Wang Meng, one of the "four famous painters in Yuan Dynasty". Wang Meng served as a small official in late Yuan Dynasty. He then resigned and lived in seclusion for quite a long period of time. At the beginning of Ming Dynasty, he served as a provincial official for a while, but at last died in jail because of political implications. Wang Meng's grandfather was Zhao Mengtiao. It is estimated that Wang Meng learned painting because he was influenced by Zhao. But the works of Wang Meng were quite different from Zhao’s and had its distinctive personal characteristics. Wang Meng's works had very full composition, with hills and mountains often taking over the whole painting; the layout was also very complex, with mountains after mountains, water over water, layers upon layers. He was good at using unfolding texture (a painting skill) and ink points to make the mountains look lush, presenting audiences a vast view. Wang Meng's life had always tangled with the contradiction of “going out” and “staying still”, so his landscape painting has a strong complex of seclusion. The picture painted Bian Mountain, which was an ordinary hill in Wang Meng’s hometown Wuxing of Zhejiang province, but under Wang Meng's pen, it had become a symbol of spiritual home of a hermit. Wang Meng also believed in Taoism, thus there are also many scholars explaining Wang Meng's paintings from Taoist "inaction" spirit and theoretical level.

Details

  • Title: Seclusion in Green Bian Mountain
  • Creator: Wang Meng
  • Date: Yuan Dynasty 1366
  • Provenance: Shanghai Museum
  • Physical format: painting, 140h x 42.4w cm
  • Medium: ink on paper
  • Dynastic period: Yuan Dynasty
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1308-1385

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