Painter, Visual Artist
1308 – 1385
Who was Wang Meng?
Wang Meng was a Chinese painter during the Yuan Dynasty. He was born in Huzhou, now known as Wuxing, Zhejiang. He was a maternal grandson of Zhao Mengfu, thus making him a descendant of the Song Dynasty's royal bloodline.
Wang Meng is considered to be one of the Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty, along with Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, and Ni Zan. They famously refused to serve the Mongolian rulers of their country. In contrast to many renowned painters in previous history, these artists mostly worked on paper instead of silk, an indication of the importance they gave to the calligraphic touch of the brush on paper. They exclusively painted landscapes, which they believed to be the visible key to the invisible reality. They restricted their acquaintanceship to each other, and like-minded "wen ren".
Wang Meng was the youngest of the group, and the least famous in his own time. Nevertheless, his style greatly influenced later Chinese painting. In contrast to the relatively spare style of his compatriots, his ropy brushstrokes piled one on the other to produce masses of texture combined in dense and involved patterns.
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