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An Old Man Walking by a Stream, with Distant Mountains

Wu Li

Asian Art

Wu Li, an acclaimed Qing dynasty painter, expressed himself through the styles of a select lineage of past artists. Here, sparse trees and an empty pavilion allude to Ni Zan (1301–1374), but Wu Li has reworked the dry, sketchy style of the Yuan dynasty master by incorporating loose, moist brushstrokes to create a richer tonality. Wu Li’s reinterpretation may have been influenced by an increasing awareness of Western artistic techniques, such as chiaroscuro and one-point perspective. Wu Li converted to Christianity in the 1670s, allowing him close contact with the missionaries who brought new images and skills to China from the West.
MEDIUM Ink and color on paper
  • Place Made: China
  • DATES 1706
    DYNASTY Qing Dynasty
    DIMENSIONS image: 50 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. (128.9 x 34.3 cm) mount: 22 3/4 x 100 in. (57.8 x 254 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Inscribed with a poem, with two seals of the artist and five deals of various collectors.
    SIGNATURE Signed: "Mojing daoren Wu Li"
    INSCRIPTIONS "Lonely old trees lean on a riverbank. new wabes hit the foot of rocks. Distant mountains hold the sunset, there is nobody in the autumn shadow of a thatched pavilion."
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Asian Art Council
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Wu Li (Chinese, 1632-1718). An Old Man Walking by a Stream, with Distant Mountains, 1706. Ink and color on paper, image: 50 3/4 x 13 1/2 in. (128.9 x 34.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Asian Art Council, 1990.71
    IMAGE detail, CUR.1990.71_detail2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Four colophons on the mounting brocade; one by Guo Ling (1767-1831), and one by Wu Rongguang (1759-1834). Landscape in the Ni Zan (1301-1374) style, depicting an old man walking by a stream in the middle ground, with a pavilion under trees and distant mountains in the background. Dated "A Winter month of the year bingxu (1706)." Condition: cracks in the painting, but stable.
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