Painting in National Palace Museum, Qing dynasty (1644-1911) part1
Welcome to the National Palace Museum's collection of paintings from the Qing dynasty! Here, you can explore some of the most beautiful and intricate works of art from this period. We have a variety of different paintings on display here, including Cats and Butterflies of Longevity by Shen Zhenlin, Activities of the Twelve Lunar Months: The Twelfth Month, The Five Purities by Yun Shouping, Summer Mountains and Misty Rain by Wang Hui, After Wang Wei's "Snow Over Rivers and Mountains" by Wang Shih-min, The Peach Blossom Fishing Boat by Wang Hui, Peonies by Yun Shou-p'ing, Green Mountains and White Clouds by Wu Li, After Wang Meng's "Mountain Dwelling on a Summer Day" by Wang Yuan-ch'i and Along the River During the Ch'ing-ming Festival by Chang Tse-tuan. These are all incredible works of art that tell us about the culture and history of the Qing dynasty. Come take a look at these fascinating artifacts today!
1. Cats and Butterflies of Longevity
Shen Zhenlin (style name Fengchi) was a native of Wuxian (modern Suzhou, Jiangsu) who served the Qing court painting academy in the Xianfeng and Tongzhi reigns (1851-1874). He specialized in figures and portraits but was also good at sketching birds and flowers from life as well as landscapes. Shen Zhenlin was famous for his painting, Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) awarded him a plaque that she personally inscribed:"To a miraculous hand that transmits the spirit."
2. Activities of the Twelve Lunar Months: The Twelfth Month
This is one of a set of twelve paintings that is undated, but evidence shows it to be a product of the Painting Academy in the early Qianlong reign (1736-1795). This scroll for the twelfth lunar month shows a landscape with snow and waters frozen in the depths of winter. Buildings recede realistically from the foreground into the distance, and various activities have been arranged in clusters, the details of which are rendered with precision. Some people stand at leisure, others warm themselves, and some skate on the ice. Children in courtyards play ball or with a shuttlecock and make a snow lion, fully engrossed in game. The painting is beautifully rendered in ink and colors, the architectural elements painstakingly portrayed with artistry that is exceptionally refined and delicate. A key work for studying the style of the Painting Academy in the early Qianlong reign, it is a masterpiece of Qing court painting.
3. The Five Purities
Yun Shouping was a native of Wujin in Jiangsu, gifted at poetry and prose, painting, and calligraphy. He originally excelled at landscape painting but later felt he could not compete with Wang Hui, one of the Four Wangs specializing in landscapes. He thereafter turned to the bird-and-flower theme, becoming one of the most renowned masters of flower painting in the Qing dynasty.
4. Summer Mountains and Misty Rain
Wang Hui was a native of Changshu in Jiangsu, one of the "Four Wangs" of the early Qing dynasty. He excelled in painting since childhood, and received instruction from two of the other Four Wangs, Wang Jian and Wang Shimin. He was able to integrate past and present as well as northern and southern styles to develop his own style and become one of the premier painters of the Qing dynasty.
5. After Wang Wei's "Snow Over Rivers and Mountains"
Wang Shih-min was the grandson of Wang Hsi-chueh, prime minister in the late Ming dynasty. Wang Shih-min's father, Wang Heng, served as a Hanlin Academy editor for the court. Wang Shih-min, not surprisingly, grew up in this refined atmosphere of scholarship and art.
6. The Peach Blossom Fishing Boat
Wang Hui was a native of Ch'ang-shu in Kiangsu who studied landscape painting as a youth under Wang Shih-min (1592-1680) and Wang Chien (1598-1677). Under their guidance, he also studied treasured works in various collections, making numerous copies. Consequently, he was gifted at both northern and southern styles as well as ancient and modern ones.
Yun Shou-p'ing was a native of Wu-chin, who grew up in a family of limited means. He devoted himself to studying and even surprised his elders at the age of eight by composing poetry on lotus blossoms.
8. Green Mountains and White Clouds
Wu Li was a native of Ch'ang-shu, Kiangsu. He and Wang Hui were both students of Wang Chien and Wang Shih-min. These four artists are often grouped along with Wang Yuan-ch'i and Yun Shou-p'ing as "The Six Masters of the Early Ch'ing," or as "The Four Wangs, Wu, and Yun." Wu Li's landscape style was based on a careful study and thorough understanding of the early masters. Wu Li was particularly skilled at the archaic "blue-and-green" style of landscape painting. Wu Li has created an exquisitely natural work filled with movement and spirit.
9. After Wang Meng's "Mountain Dwelling on a Summer Day"
Wang Yuan-ch'i was a native of T'ai-ts'ang, Kiangsu. He received his "chin-shih" civil service degree in 1670 and served in a number of posts before becoming Attendant Gentleman of the Ministry of Revenue. Appreciated as a scholar-artist, he became a personal painter-connoisseur for the K'ang-hsi emperor (r. 1662-1722) and served as one of the editors of an imperial compilation of painting and calligraphy. The grandson of the famous painter Wang Shih-min (1592-1680), Wang Yuan-ch'i grew up in the arts of the scholar. Developing new theories and influencing generations to come, he is known as one of the Four Great Masters of the Ch'ing. This painting is a depiction of a deep forest on layered crags, a winding stream in a desolate valley, and lofty pavilions and buildings on a cliffside coming down to the stream valley below. In the distance is a view of lofty mountains, giving a sense of height and depth as well as solitude and peace. This work is composed mostly of texture strokes executed with dry ink. The brushwork is dense, following the manner associated with Wang Meng (1308-1385). Wang Yuan-ch'i, in his inscription here, stated that ink ought to be used lightly and that darker shades ink should be expressed using light washes. In executing this landscape, he first outlined the composition in light ink. Then, he gradually built up the deeper areas of ink with layers of light ink. Finally, he applied accents in heavy ink.