The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) painters
-- particularly the Four Great Painters: Huang Gongwang, Ni Zan, Wu Zhen and
Wang Meng, and the outstanding Huang Gongwang -- greatly developed landscape
painting. Born in 1269, Huang lost his parents at a young age and lived in
poverty. At 10, he was adopted by Huang Le, a native of Zhejiang Province. It is said that the 90-year-old
Huang was amazed to see such a talented boy, and renamed him Huang Gongwang. At
12 or 13 years of age Huang took the examination for child prodigies, and after
diligent study he mastered much knowledge and techniques. The famous painter
that he was, Huang also achieved a high status as a scholar.
Following in the footsteps of Dong
Yuan and Ju Ran, Huang blended his feelings towards nature into his paintings.
His book Knack of Landscape Painting even enlightened later generations.
Huang created nearly 100 paintings, among which only several exist today --
Marvelous Rivers and Mountains, Living in Seclusion as a Fisherman, A Room Full of Fragrant
Many of Huang's landscape paintings were
produced after he was 70 years old. The Dwelling in Fuchun Mountain,
which was of 396.6 cm long and 33 cm high, contained the most beautiful
scenery of the two banks of the Fuchun River. Huang spent
six or seven years visiting every corner along the banks of the river to
complete the painting. The whole painting portrays beautiful, simple and elegant scenery. Huang advocated learning from
predecessors and painting whenever beautiful scenery is encountered instead of