Yu was a native of Jiangdu (present-day Yangzhou) in Jiangsu province. His style name was 'Shangji' (上吉) and his sobriquet was 'Shenzai' (慎齋). He served in the Imperial Painting Academy (廷畫院) during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. Yu was taught by Lan Ying, and painted landscapes, human figures, and bird-and-flower paintings.
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