Zhao Mengfu / Twin Pines, Level Distance / Yuan dynasty (1279?1368), ca. 1300Zhao Mengfu
Twin Pines, Level Distance
Yuan dynasty (1279?1368), ca. 1300

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Dates/Places: China 1254?1322
Creator Name-CRT: Zhao Mengfu
Title: Twin Pines, Level Distance
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 1280
Creation End Date: 1320
Creation Date: Yuan dynasty (1279?1368), ca. 1300
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Handscroll: ink on paper
Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 42 1/4 in. (26.7 x 107.3 cm)
Inscriptions: Inscribed by the artist

Zhao Mengfu, a leading calligrapher of his time, set the course of scholar-painting by firmly establishing its two basic tenets: renewal through the study of ancient models and the application of calligraphic principles to painting. In Twin Pines, Level Distance the landscape idiom of the Northern Song masters Li Cheng and Guo Xi has become a calligraphic style. Rather than simply describe nature as it appears to be, Zhao sought to capture its quintessential rhythms. The characteristics of rocks and trees, felt by the artist and acted out through his calligraphic brushwork, are imbued with a heightened sense of life energy that goes beyond mere representation.

In a long colophon on the far left of the scroll, the artist expresses his views on painting: "Besides studying calligraphy, I have since my youth dabbled in painting. Landscape I have always found difficult. This is because ancient [landscape] masterpieces of the Tang, such as the works of Wang Wei, the great and small Li [Sixun and Li Zhaodao] and Zheng Qian, no longer survive. As for the Five Dynasties masters Jing Hao, Guan Tong, Dong Yuan, and Fan Kuan, all of whom succeeded one another, their brushwork is totally different from that of the more recent painters. What I paint may not rank with the work of the ancient masters, but compared to recent paintings I daresay mine are quite different."

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1973.120.5
Credit Line: Ex coll.: C.C. Wang Family, Gift of The Dillon Fund, 1973
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art . All rights reserved.
Rights: http://www.metmuseum.org/education/er_photo_lib.asp
AMICA ID: MMA_.1973.120.5
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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