Eight Views of Xunyang (潯陽八景圖)

Tang Yin (唐寅,1470-1524), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

Album leaves mounted as a handscroll, ink and color on silk, 32.4 x 413.7 cm,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

       A brilliant scholar whose official career was cut short by his inadvertent involvement in an examination scandal in 1499, Tang Yin spent his life pursuing the diversions of an eccentric scholarly playboy; his adventures eventually entered popular legend. While most of his paintings reflect a pleasure-loving existence, this melancholy album explores the themes of struggle, sadness, and the refuge of solitude.

       While most of his fellow painters in the Suzhou area adopted the calligraphic styles of the Yuan scholar-artists, Tang Yin was able to use the more descriptive ink-wash idiom of the Southern Song masters, particularly that of Li Tang (c. 1066–1150), to portray realistic scenery. This series of leaves shows extraordinary subtlety in portraying the changing effects of weather and season as well as poetic and psychological moods.