Feb.10. Meng Zhao

Friday, Feb.24, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156 

Alone in A Magnitude: Wandering Scholar in Fishing Village in Light Snow

Meng Zhao

Ph.D. Student, Art History, University of Chicago

Fishing Village in Light Snow 漁村小雪圖, Wang Shen, Northern Song Dynasty, Ink and color on silk, The Palace Museum


The end of the eleventh century witnessed a profound transformation of expectations regarding Chinese landscape painting and of the perception of nature itself. In departing from normative monumental landscape aesthetics that characterizes the preceding Northern Song landscape art, Wang Shen, an aristocratic bureaucrat and artist, crafted a so-called “dream landscape” defined by insubstantial forms, animated structure, and the play between proximity and distance. It is within this rhythmic setting that the wandering scholar first makes his debut in the history of Chinese landscape painting. In separating this scholarly wanderer from countless human figures oft depicted “decorating” natural environments, such as fishermen and woodcutters, this paper attempts to articulate and account for the otherness of the wandering scholar in landscape, as partly informed by the compositional logic of a richly atmospheric handscroll by Wang Shen, Fishing Village in Light Snow. For the first time in Chinese landscape painting, the individual mind is necessarily externalized as a human figure that endows landscape with a totalizing tenor which defines the theme of Light Snow as primarily human’s encounter with nature.

Friday, Feb.24, 4:30 to 6:30pm, CWAC156

Persons with concerns regarding accessibility please contact Yunfei Shao(yunfeishao@uchicago.edu) or Zhiyan Yang (zhiyan@uchicago.edu)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *