The distinction between creativity and imitation inherent in Western art had been abandoned by some of China’s greatest painters as early as the late 13th century. By the 17th century, all but the most innovative artists sought to reinterpret the compositional principles and brush techniques of earlier masters in new and self-expressive ways. In their inscriptions, many of these later painters typically described their pictures as executed “in the style of” specific predecessors, with whose works they might be familiar from surviving examples, descriptive records, or the works of close contemporaries. For these later artists, the ideal was to assimilate rather than replicate the works of chosen masters.
By the 17th century, painters often displayed this original yet art historical approach to their work in the format of multi-leaf albums in which the pictorial style of each leaf evoked that of a different predecessor. Each of these albums could represent either a collaborative project of several painters or an independent work by one painter of extraordinary versatility. The album of 1642 by Lan Ying (1585–about 1642), exhibited here, is a superb example of the latter. Also included are two roughly contemporary works of reinterpretation: a mountainous landscape dated 1715 by the so-called “orthodox” master Wang Yuanqi, after the 14th-century painter Wang Meng, and a rendering of soaring peaks by Mei Chong (1623-1697), a highly imaginative allusion to the landscapes of the 10th-century master Li Cheng.
Lan Ying. Autumn Clearing in the Misty Woods, after the Style of Gao Kegong (1248-1310), 1642. Leaf from the album Landscapes in the Styles of Ancient Masters, 1642. Samuel M. Nickerson Fund.
17 hours 20 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.
19 hours 42 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room
$10 per member
Grab your yoga mat and come dressed to stretch. Only members get this unique opportunity to do yoga in the museum. All experience levels are welcome.
Please bring your own mat. Enter at the Columbus Drive Entrance, 230 S. Columbus Drive.
21 hours 9 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Natural Allusions
For Chinese painters, images of plants and animals could convey human aspirations, seasonal themes, or wishes for well-being and good fortune. This focused exhibition features 17th- and 18th-century handscrolls reflecting a variety of artistic traditions as well as a selection of round, handled fans made for wealthy and fashionable men and women of 19th-century Shanghai.