Green Mountains and White Clouds (雲白山青)
Wu Li (吳歷, 1632-1718), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
Handscroll, ink and colors on silk, 25.9 x 117.2 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei
In this work done in 1668 at the age of 36, white clouds swirl around the valley alive with green vegetation that almost appears dripping wet. The lake expands to meet the sky in a scene dotted with village buildings, a temple, and crows - suggesting the silence and grandness of nature. Wu Li's landscape style was based on a careful study and thorough understanding of the early masters. He was particularly skilled at the archaic "blue-and-green" style of landscape painting. In this genre, he approached the achievements of the Song and Yuan masters. Although this handscroll was executed in bright, opaque pigments of blue, green, red, and white, there is no sense of confusion or muddiness in the coloring. Wu Li has created an exquisitely natural work filled with movement and spirit.