The Painting of T'ang Yin
Anne De Coursey Clapp's work also explores larger issues of Ming painting raised by the artist's turbulent career. She describes the social and intellectual values exalted in Ming Suchou, its system of patronage, the contrast between the professional and amateur artist, and the formative influence of twelfth-century Sung dynasty styles on Suchou painters. Clapp shows how T'ang Yin's artistic inventions were made in the course of leading the revival of Sung dynasty styles in Suchou: tracing T'ang Yin's early studies of ancient and contemporary masters, she describes how he reworked an antique style, converting it into a vehicle of expression that reached fruition in a long series of fresh and powerful paintings of landscapes and birds-and-flowers. In the process, she revises the distorted version of middle Ming painting written by later Chinese art theorists to justify their own social and artistic values, noting especially the role of art patrons and their effect on artistic production.
Clapp analyzes the increasing currency of painting as a means of social exchange in ancient China. In particular, she identifies commemorative painting as a major genre of the later dynasties and explores the role it played in the oeuvres of professional masters with its humanistic implications for the Chinese view of the ideal scholarly man. Her broad view of T'ang Yin's career shows him divided between the professional and amateur camps of his time: in landscape and figural subjects he was aligned with the professionals; in flower subjects with the amateurs. Clap argues that the uneven distribution of styles and genres between this master who was subject to the market, and those who were independent of it, suggests that T'ang deliberately tried to expand the range of his paintings in order to appeal to buyers in the lower educational and social strata. Illustrated by some of T'ang Yin's most celebrated paintings and by some which are published for the first time, her work is of tremendous importance to art, literary, and cultural historians of Ming China.
"In this important work, Anne de Coursey Clapp has drawn a clear picture of T'ang Yin's life, patronage relationships, and contribution to the history of Chinese painting. In the person of T'ang Yin, she has chosen an ideal focus around which to examine some of the misleading stereotypes
which have distorted our understanding of Chinese painting since the seventeenth century. Marked by analytical clarity and scrupulous scholarship, her work is a welcome addition to the few works in English on individual Chinese artists."—Louise Yuhas, Occidental College
1. Dreaming of Ink: T'ang Yin's Life
2. Hunting in the Dust: Patrons and Patronage
3. Portraits Bring Gold: The Program of Commemorative Painting
4. Portraits in a Landscape: Style in Commemorative Painting
5. Learning from Many Masters: The Early Landscapes
6. Studying Hsi-ku: The Li T'ang Tradition in Suchou
7. Transmitting Hsi-ku: The Late Landscapes
8. Tree and Flower Subjects in Literati Styles
9. T'ang Yin as a Proponent of the Wu School