towering rock formations in clouds at top; river at center; bearded figure at center bottom looking at waterfall in LLC; 2 other figures between trees

Landscape with Scholar Viewing a Waterfall, 1722

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Barely perceptible in the rocky foreground, a scholar sits meditatively transfixed by a rushing waterfall. High above the twisted knot of contorted trees sheltering him, great vertical shafts of rock pierce layers of clouds to reach unimaginable heights. Every aspect in this composition is painted in meticulous detail; look closely to see how the artist used different strokes to create texture, delineate forms, or add color.

This scene represents one of the most popular subjects in Chinese painting, the so-called watching-waterfall theme. The persistence of such imagery is easily explained by its underlying philosophies. Both Confucianism and Daoism draw an analogy between the natural qualities of water and the moral qualities of the perfect gentlemen—endurance, stability, sharpness of mind, and flexibility to adapt in the best way to a changing environment.

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Landscape with Scholar Viewing a Waterfall (#070)
Details
Title
Landscape with Scholar Viewing a Waterfall
Artist Life
1686-after 1756
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2002.94
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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towering rock formations in clouds at top; river at center; bearded figure at center bottom looking at waterfall in LLC; 2 other figures between trees