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Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632-1717) (Metropolitan Museum of Art) [Hardcover]

Maxwell Hearn

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Book Description

16 Sep 2008 Metropolitan Museum of Art
Wang Hui, the most celebrated painter of late seventeenth-century China, played a key role both in reinvigorating past traditions of landscape painting and in establishing the stylistic foundations for the imperially sponsored art of the Qing court. An artist of protean talent and immense ambition, Wang developed an all-embracing synthesis of historical landscape styles that constituted one of the greatest artistic innovations of late imperial China. This comprehensive study of the painter's career, the first published in English, features essays examining his life and achievements as well as his masterwork, the monumental scroll depicting the Kangxi emperor's Southern Inspection Tour. Twenty-seven of Wang Hui's paintings, drawn from the Metropolitan Museum and from museums in Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, and Tokyo, are supplemented by a wealth of images ranging from ancient Chinese paintings to works by Wang's contemporaries.

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`This comprehensive study of the painter's career -- the first published in English -- features essays ... as well as his masterwork.'
-- Asian Art Newspaper, December 2008

About the Author

Maxwell K. Hearn is Douglas Dillon Curator and Shiyee Liu is Research Associate, both in the Department of Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wen C. Fong is Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, and Curator Emeritus, Asian Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Chin-Sung Chang is Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars chronicle of a master chinese painter 17 Feb 2010
By Ivor E. Zetler - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wang Hui (1632-1717) had a long and successful career as a painter. His style harked back to older traditions of landscape painting. Many of the works featured in this catalogue feature forested scenes with ascending mountains in the background. Apart from some brown and green coloring, much of the landscape features are monochromatic.

Wanh Hui's greatest legacy are his illustrations of happenings during the Kangxi emperor's second inspection tour. The Kangxi emperor (1654-1722), then aged 35, covered the 3,300km distance between Beijing and the southern city of Shaoxing in 71 days. Hui's momentous undertaking resulted in the production of 12 hand painted silk scrolls; the earlier ones averaging 14 metres and the last 6 around 22 metres in length (a total of 202 metres!). Parts of two of these precious scrolls are illustrated in this book. Hui's style in this project shows a greater use of color in the figural painting as well as that of buildings. Closer examination of the rural/urban scenes gives a fascinating insight into the contemporary living style.

As is common with Metropolitan Museum publications, the standard of the documentation, essays, illustrations and general printing is uniformly high. This book is warmly recommended to those interested in older Chinese art and culture.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Any Lover of Chinese Landscape Art will find this volume a rich resource of Wang Hui's work & the traditions he draws from 25 Sep 2012
By Agogo - Published on
A surprising buy - any lover of the chinese landscape genre will find this volume a rich resource of Wang Hui's works from the 16-17th century and the traditional masterpieces he draws inspiration from. This book isn't promoted enough. It is a prized publication accompanying a landmark Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York of the same name, from Sep 9 2008 to Jan 4, 2009.

Paintings are of superb print quality rarely seen in older publications (this published 2008), colours and details gratifyingly crisp. I have just unwrapped this. And can't wait to delve into it's essays and commentaries.

A tribute to Wang Hui's life work and an indulgence for enthusiasts of the genre into the world of chinese landscape painting from the 17th century and beyond. Synthesizing past traditions with his own style, Wang Hui's creations are displayed side by side with the inspirational works he draws from in this volume.

Twenty seven of Wang Hui's paintings are included in this volume drawn from museums in Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, US and Canada. These are supplemented with a wealth of comparative paintings drawn through the centuries from ancient times through to present day artists' in this ever evolving discipline.

The book is structured as follows by contributors:
1) Wen C Fong who wrote the first section "Wang Hui and Repossessing the Past" (tradition).
2) Chin-Sung Chang - "The Evolution of The Master Landscapist".
3) Maxwell K Hearn - "Art Creates History - Wang Hui and The Kangxi Emperor's Southern Inspection Tour".
4) Shi-Yee Liu for preparing an exceptional Catalogue of Wang Hui's Works Inscriptions, Signatures and Seals

Foreword by Philippe de Montebello; Acknowledgements & Preface by Maxwell K Hearn and a List of the Lenders to the Exhibition, Biblio, Index and Photo Credits.

Update: There has been some controversy however surrounding the authenticity of some of the Met's purchases from the CC Wang collection which has surfaced through my web readings, suggesting that some of the paintings were copies by Chang Da Chien - however I am not qualified to comment. Warrants a looking into. (minus one star)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysteriously Enduring 5 Jun 2013
By Cathleen - Published on
Verified Purchase
Truly radiant. The photos capture the enduring appeal of Chinese landscape painting. The settings transcend their specific reality to fill the heart with longing to visit places of such mysterious eternal beauty.
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