Wu Zhen

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Wu Zhen, Hermit Fisherman on Lake Dongting.

Wu Zhen (simplified Chinese: 吴镇; traditional Chinese: 吳鎮; pinyin: Wú Zhèn) (1280-1354 C.E.) was a painter born in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, during the Yuan dynasty of China, one of the so-called Four Masters of the Yuan Dynasty. He followed the Dong Yuan school of painting. Following along with trends of the time, Wu's works tended less toward naturalism (i.e. painting exactly what the eye sees) and more toward abstraction, focusing on dynamic balance of elements, and personifying nature. His painting The Central Mountain, dated 1336, is perhaps his greatest work and shows his style very clearly. It is a symmetrical image, with one large mountain in its center and others to each side. The mountains have rounded tops, and in fact all of Wu's lines in this painting are smooth, curved and flowing. The painting is a reinterpretation of traditional landscape paintings as it brings abstract style and brushwork to landscape, primarily to create a work focused on balance.

Wu Zhen, Fisherman, National Palace Museum

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