The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has one of the largest collections of Chinese paintings and calligraphy. An exhibition dubbed “Masterpieces of Chinese Painting from the Metropolitan Collection” is giving visitors a chance to see these ancient works of art up close. The exhibition consists of 110 works of painting and calligraphy dating from the Tang Dynasty over 1,000 years ago, to the present day. Here are some highlights.
The collection covers a vast span of the history of the Chinese brush art, from meticulous court paintings to fierce dragons and lyrical paintings by scholars.
One of the most riveting pieces on exhibit includes “Finches and Bamboo” painted by Emperor Huizong of the Northern Song Dynasty, who was also a talented painter and calligrapher.
Another one is “Old Trees, Level Distance” by Northern Song Dynasty landscape painter Guo Xi. Guo produced many monumental landscape paintings and specialized in painting large pine trees and scenery enveloped by mist and clouds.
Huang Tingjian’s “Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru” is also on display. It offers a glimpse into the high art of Song Dynasty calligraphy. Measuring almost sixty feet in length, they contain nearly 1,200 characters, the longest extant work of its kind ever completed. The calligraphy is spontaneous and expressive and is a masterpiece of cursive writing.
“When you stand in front of this masterpiece and realize that Huang Tingjian once touched this paper and wrote on it, you’ll feel the history. It’s very touching,” said Joe Scheier-Dolberg, curator of Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Over the past 40 years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of Chinese paintings and calligraphy has become one of the largest and most comprehensive in the world.
By highlighting the collection’s most notable works of art, the exhibition provides visitors with a rare opportunity to learn about the history of Chinese paintings and calligraphy through some of the best examples available from each era.
This exhibition runs through October 11th.