Tags: NPM National Treasures
Fan Kuan has long been considered a founding master of Chinese landscape painting. Unfortunately, little is known about him, including his birth and death dates. However, he apparently lived in reclusion in the Chung-nan and T'ai-hua Mountains, and in later years traveled between K'ai-feng and Loyang. He never became an official and was still living around 1025. This is universally regarded as an authentic work of his and representative of Sung landscape painting, especially the Northern Sung monumental manner. The artist's purpose here apparently was not to replicate realistic space. Rather, by cleverly manipulating the basic compositional blocks of the fore-, middle-, and background, he could push back the main mountain peak, reign in the middleground, and focus on the minute travelers in the foreground. With the dramatic contrast between tiny figures and towering central mountains, the artist created an interesting scene placing the viewer in the midst of a monumental landscape. In the lower right corner, hidden among the trees, is the brief signature "Fan Kuan", and in the lower left is the seal "Chung-hsiao chih chia" (Of the Family of Chung-hsiao). The latter belonged to Ch'ien Hsieh, a friend of the Northern Sung literary great Su Shih.
The picture has gone through high resolution image processing and professional color management, and been printed on the high-quality art paper to reproduce the original warm texture and delicate colors.
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