Trivium Art HistoryWang Meng

Forest Grotto in Juqu

Forest Grotto in Juqu, 1370 — Wang Meng,
68.8 cm42.5 cm

Wang Meng brings his distinctively dense brushwork to this painting of the Forest Chamber Grotto at Lake Tai. The composition is claustrophobic, but it can be deciphered by looking closely at his brush-strokes.

Wang used a blend of traditional brush techniques to distinguish the different elements of the Grotto: “ox-tail” textured strokes delineating the landscape forms, long “hemp-fiber” strokes create the tree trunks. Combined with the dense “moss” dots, layers of ink washes were also added to create a distinction between light and dark. Finally, Wang Meng used touches of ocher and red to provide this painting with the hue of autumn.

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