Reminiscences of Nanjing: Riding the Clouds

citation

Maker(s)
Artist: Shitao (1642-1707)
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, 1707
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
H x W (image): 23.8 x 19.2 cm (9 3/8 x 7 9/16 in)
Geography
China, Nanjing
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Accession Number
S1987.204.10
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Album, Painting
Type

Album leaf

Keywords
China, cloud, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), river, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To?
Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). [1]

To 1987
Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York. [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Arthur M. Sackler, New York. [3]

Notes:

[1] See object record.

[2] See note 1.

[3] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Zhang Daqian China, 1899-1983
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987

Label

This painting of a horseback rider ascending a cloudy peak, with a torrent below, projects a theme of perseverance. Painted in the last year of Shitao's life, the image was probably self-reflective. From the outset, Shitao's life was beset with difficulties. He was orphaned as an infant when most of his family was murdered in a violent dynastic overthrow. Because his father had been a prince of the conquered dynasty, it was assumed that Shitao would never deign to serve the new dynasty's government. He became a reclusive Buddhist monk and lived for a period in Nanjing, whose sites he recorded in the twelve paintings that comprise the album Reminiscences of Nanjing. The emotional tone in Reminiscences of Nanjing ranges from happy to melancholy. In each painting Shitao used the strong, blunt brushwork that is his signature style, and sometimes he interjected a visually exciting, fresh approach to the natural world. The overall economy of description of Riding the Clouds characterizes Shitao's innovative painting style. He created an approach to painting that, at first glance, seems naively simple but is, in fact, a deliberate and difficult-to-achieve look-one which perhaps resonates with the Daoist view that awkwardness can be the greatest skill.

Published References
  • Jonathan Hay. Shitao: Painting and Modernity in Early Qing China., reprint. Taibei shi. .
  • Chang Wanli. Shitao shuhua ji (Selected Painting and Calligraphy of Shih-Tao). multi-volumed, Hong Kong. pl. 95.
  • Richard Edwards. The Paintings of Tao-chi 1641-ca 1720: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held at the Museum of Art, University of Michigan, August 13-September 17, 1967. Exh. cat. Ann Arbor. pp. 44, 94, fig. 19.
  • Richard M. Barnhart. Wintry Forests, Old Trees: Some Landscape Themes in Chinese Painting. Exh. cat. New York. p. 63.
  • Les Trois Reves du Mandarin. Exh. cat. Brussels. cat. 84b, pp. 106-7.
  • Marilyn Fu Fu Shen. Studies in Connoisseurship: Chinese Paintings from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections in New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., Third Edition. Princeton, 1973. pp. 302-313.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 206, p. 310.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum