The three national treasures of the National Palace Museum, "Travelers Among Mountains and Streams (谿山行旅)" by Fan Kuan (范寬), "Early Spring(早春圖)" by Guo Xi (郭熙), and "Whispering Pines in Myriad Valleys (萬壑松風)" by Li Tang (李唐), will be on display for the first time at the NPM's Northern Branch in Taipei until Nov. 16, 2021.
Born in Huayuan, Shaanxi, Fan Kuan was a painter who used his unique way of observing nature to create great mountains of incomparable majesty. The densely textured rocks appear to be pock-marked by rain and even similar to raindrops on the surface, while the sliver of a cascading waterfall seems to create a most sonorous sound for the temple half concealed in the forest below. Behind the tiny travelers and donkey train is Fan Kuan's skillfully concealed signature.
Guo Xi was a Northern Song painter active at the imperial court and an important art theorist. His "Early Spring" masterpiece from 1072 is his most classical surviving work.
Li Tang was a major artist in the transition between the Northern and Southern Song. His "Whispering Pines in Myriad Valleys" from the late Northern Song belongs to the "monumental" style of landscape painting but differs from both "Travelers Among Mountains and Streams" and "Early Spring" in that it does not include any figures or architecture.
(Photo credit: National Palace Museum)