Ma Yuan - Dancing and singing

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Dancing and singing
also known as "peasants returning from work"
Ma Yuan (China, ca.1160-1225)
ca.1200 a.c.
Ink and color on silk, 192.5 × 111 cm (75.8 × 43.7 in)
National Palace Museum, Beijing

Born in what is now the city of Hangzhou, Ma Yuan (ca.1160-1225) is not only the great master of Southern Song painting, but for the quality of his drawing and the variety of his compositions he should also be placed at the pinnacle of Chinese painting from any era.

Court painter of Emperor Guangzong, Ma Yuan came from a family of artists, being a fourth generation painter. For this reason, his works exhibit the best of both the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties. The grandeur of the great landscapes from the Northern Song period is present in his representations of the high and rocky mountains, like in his "Facing the moon" or in the work illustrated here. But his love for the details is typical of the Southern Song period, and he created intimate compositions like “Angler on a wintry lake” or “On a Mountain Path in Spring”, chosen as one of the 50 masterworks of painting by

"Dancing and singing," continues the tradition of hanging scroll landscapes of the early Song dynasty masters, but the personal style of Ma Yuan is evident in the firm and precise lines of the mountains and especially in the thick tree branch at the bottom of the painting. Although in this work Ma Yuan has not used his typical "one-corner composition" (evident in his “On a Mountain Path in Spring”), the emptiness is also part of the composition.

G. Fernández -

Ma Yuan - On a Mountain Path in Spring

Another excellent landscape by Ma Yuan: "On a Mountain Path in Spring".

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