The Road to Shu, 1675

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Liu Du was a pupil of the last Zhe school master, Lan Ying (1585-1664), also shown in this gallery. Both artists worked in Hangzhou. Liu was an important professional painter, skilled in many formats and accomplished in painting in the styles of the old masters. His favorites were Li Cheng (919-967) whose influence can be seen here in the bare trees, and Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322). The theme of this painting, the "Road to Shu," is an historical reference to the temporary collapse of the Tang court in the 8th century and the emperor Xuanzong's self-imposed exile to the distant state of Shu (Sichuan province). Liu's colophon states that the painting was dedicated to the Daoist elder Quezhai and that he was influenced in this work by the ideas of Yuan dynasty painters (14th century).

The Tang poet Li Bai wrote "the Road to Shu is
difficult," every time one reads it, it makes a man
sigh, exclaim at its precipitousness and be afraid
to travel there. . . how could he not sigh at the
difficulties of expressing all this in a painting. . .

The Road to Shu
Artist Life
active 1632 - 1675
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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