The Chinese art of ink painting is an ancient and continuously practiced tradition transmitted and learned in part through the study of the works of past masters. This practice formed the fundamental basis for learning the art of painting in China until the twentieth century. At the same time, Chinese painters were aware of the potentially limiting aspects of imitating the ancient masters too closely. As a result, they self-consciously evoked past masters' styles while simultaneously working to transform and even subvert them.
This exhibition of Chinese ink paintings from the The Fralin Museum of Art and Lijin Collections examines the influence of this honored tradition on later artists and how they sought to balance reverence for the art of old masters with their own impulses for artistic expression. Ancient Masters explores this tension through an investigation of style, subject matter, and inscriptions on paintings from the early modern period up until the present, while examining the social and historical context of their production. The exhibition demonstrates the rich variety of ink painting in China over many centuries and the continuing relevance of tradition to Chinese artists today.
The Museum's programming is made possible by the generous support of The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.
The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of an anonymous donor, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, B. Herbert Lee '48 Endowed Fund, Denison and Louise Hatch Americana Preservation Fund, Albemarle Magazine, Ivy Publications LLC's Charlottesville Welcome Book, The Hook, and is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts: fostering access + innovation.