Zhao Mengfu (simplified Chinese: 赵孟頫; traditional Chinese: 趙孟頫; pinyin: Zhào Mèngfǔ; Wade–Giles: Chao Meng-fu; courtesy name Zi'ang (子昂); pseudonyms Songxue (松雪, "Pine Snow"), Oubo (鸥波, "Gull Waves"), and Shuijing-gong Dao-ren (水精宫道人, "Master of the Crystal Palace"); 1254–1322), was a descendant of the Song Dynasty's imperial family through Emperor Xiaozong’s brother Zhao Bogui who married a lady surnamed Song who was the granddaughter of Emperor Huizong.
He was recommended by the Censor-in-chief Cheng Jufu to pay an audience with Kublai Khan in 1286 at the Yuan capital of Dadu, but was not awarded an important position in office. His work was however, greatly appreciated later by the Confucian-inspired Yuan Emperor Renzong. Zhao was a member of the "Academy of Worthies".
He was married to Guan Daosheng, who was also an accomplished poet, painter and calligrapher. His rejection of the refined, gentle brushwork of his era in favour of the cruder style of the eighth century is considered to have brought about a revolution that created the modern Chinese landscape painting. He was known for his paintings of horses. His landscapes are also considered to be done in a style that focuses more on a literal laying of ground. Rather than organizing them in a foreground, middle ground, and background pattern he layers middle grounds at various heights to create a sense of depth. This pattern of organization makes his paintings appear very simple and approachable. It was this characteristic that so many people valued about his style.
Zhao Mengfu had several sons with his wife Guan Daosheng. His second son, Zhao Yong, also became a famous painter and calligrapher. He was also the maternal grandfather of Wang Meng, another famous painter. Zhao Mengfu was related to the later Ming dynasty literary figure Zhao Yiguang and his son Zhao Jun.
- http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp110_wuzong_emperor.pdf p. 15.
- Zhou Mi, translator Ankeney Weitz. Zhou Mi's Record of Clouds and Mist Passing Before One's Eyes: An Annotated Translation. 2. Brill. p. 165. ISBN 90 0412605 8. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- Marsha Smith Weidner (1988). Marsha Smith Weidner, Indianapolis Museum of Art, ed. Views from Jade Terrace: Chinese women artists, 1300-1912 (illustrated ed.). Indianapolis Museum of Art. p. 31. ISBN 0-8478-1003-8. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
She married ZhaoJun, scion of an old Suzhou family, which traced its ancestry back to the imperial family of the Song dynasty and which counted among its sons the famous official and artist Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322). Zhao Jun's father was the recluse-scholar Zhao Yiguang (1559- 1625), and his mother was a daughter of Lu Shidao (1511-74), another Suzhou literatus. Zhao Jun studied the classics with Wen Congjian; thus a more permanent liaison between the two families was perhaps inevitable.
- Mu, Yiqin, "Zhao Mengfu". Encyclopedia of China (Arts Edition), 1st ed.
- Zhao Mengfu: Calligraphy and Painting for Khubilai's China
- Zhao Mengfu Calligraphy "Rhapsody on Goddess of Luo"
- Calligraphy Gallery of Zhao Mengfu at China Online Museum
- Painting Gallery of Zhao Mengfu at China Online Museum
- Works in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, New York
- Landscapes Clear and Radiant: The Art of Wang Hui (1632-1717), an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Zhao Mengfu (see index)
- Sung and Yuan paintings, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Zhao Mengfu (see list of paintings)
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