An image of Landscape in the style of Mi Fu

HUA Yan

(China 1682 – 1756)

Landscape in the style of Mi Fu

Location
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

This painting is in the style of the gifted landscapist Mi Fu (1052-1109), a member of an 11th-century coterie of scholar-artists who formulated the literati (wenrenhua) theory the value of a painting lies not in its simulation of nature but in its transformation of nature into a vehicle that expresses the character and mood of the painter. For centuries this theory shaped the style of the scholar-amateur literati artists who worked in ink only. They scorned mere representation, aspiring to a deliberate awkward-looking style full of archaic reference tempered by an astringent intellectualism. In 18th-century Yanzhou, a wealthy class of merchants who sought to emulate the taste of the scholar-gentry class commissioned paintings in the literati style, such as this fine example by Hua Yan. One of the ‘Eccentric Master of Yangzhou’, a loose group of artists producing their own unorthodox interpretations of literati painting, Hua Yan was noted for the virtuosity of his brushwork. By his time the Mi Fu style of building up landscape forms by a series of dots (particularly obvious in his mountains) was a classic in the stylistic vocabulary of literati artists.

‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.150.
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Place of origin
China
Period
China: Qing dynasty 1644–1911
Media
Painting
Medium
hanging scroll; ink on paper
Dimensions
129.5 x 61.0 cm image; 259.0 x 92.0 cm scroll
Signature & date
Signed u.l. corner, in Chinese, incribed in black ink, "Xinlo shanren painted and inscribed." Signed, in Chinese , stamped in red ink "hua yan, qiu yue, Kong chen shi hua, tai su dao ren [four artist's seals]" Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1993
Accession number
570.1993