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.
1 day 8 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Abstract Experiments: Latin American Art on Paper after 1950
During the mid-20th century, Latin American artists were active in the evolving international discourse on modernity, at a time of industrial expansion and political transformation in South America.
Abstract Experiments provides an illuminating complement to Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium and reflects the Art Institute’s recent efforts to expand its holdings of Latin American painting, sculpture, and works on paper.
2 days 2 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium
The Art Institute presents the first U.S. retrospective of this groundbreaking Brazilian artist. A relentless innovator always pushing the boundaries of art, Oiticica is arguably the most influential Latin American artist of the post–World War II period and is recognized for inspiring Tropicália, a powerful movement that influenced art across media in Brazil.
In addition to viewing his early works on paper, visitors are invited to take off their shoes and walk through immersive sand-filled installations, view Amazonian parrots, and try on wearable objects designed by the artist.
2 days 4 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Whitney will be taking over our Instagram for the next 24 hours. Follow along to see posts from Max and Julien’s visit to the museum.