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The style associated with the Northern Sung painter and theoretician Kuo Hsi (eleventh century) can be seen clearly in this monumental landscape painting. Landscape painting of the Northern Sung emphasized the enormity of nature and the smallness of man. According to writings attributed to Kuo Hsi, the artist's state of mind played a significant role in his ability to truly depict the essence of the natural world. His son Kuo Ssu wrote of his father's teachings that: "[The artist] must do his work with his whole soul; if he does not work with his whole soul, the essential will not be clear. He must be severe and respectful in his work, otherwise it will lack depth of thought. He must apply zeal and reverence to complete it, otherwise the picture will not be properly finished." (Translation from Siren) In the Northern Sung dynasty style, large symmetrical landscape forms are built up in layers and densely textured with a variety of brush techniques. This Yüan version establishes a greater separation between the viewer and the scene, but closely follows the Northern Sung methods of multipoint perspective and the tilting of the far peak, which distorts the central mountain.
Painting Hanging scroll: ink on silk China h 29 -5/8 x w 15 -1/4 inches