A Horseback Trip in a Spring Countryside (春郊遊騎圖)
Zhao Yong (趙雍, 1289-?), Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368)
Hanging scroll, ink and colors on silk, 88 x 51.1 cm, National Palace Museum, Taipei
Zhao Yong, style name Zhongmu (仲穆), was a native of Huzhou (湖州, modern Wuxing 吳興, Zhejiang 浙江). Son of the famous artists Zhao Mengfu (趙孟頫, 1254-1322) and Guan Daosheng (管道升, 1262-1319), he followed the family tradition of painting and calligraphy, achieving fame as well. He especially excelled at figures and saddled horses.
The composition of a horse and figure below a tree was popular in Tang dynasty painting. In this work the rider turns his head back holding a bow. He is shown in the shade of two crisscrossing old trees, a centered brush used to delineate the stout horse. Though following in the luxuriantly beautiful colors of Tang painting, it also shows with fine brushwork the lofty archaism and refinement of literati taste.