Smithsonian Freer Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of Asian Art Gallery Guide Arts of the Islamic World
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While Zhao was an enthusiastic advocate of synthesizing the spirit of the ancient masters into one's own work, in the historical development of the arts of the brush, he was surpassed as a theorist by the great calligrapher, painter, and connoisseur Dong Qichang (1555–1636) of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Dong expressed his ultimate realization of the relationship of art to nature in the following philosophical statement:

If one considers the wonders of nature, then painting does
not equal landscape. But if one considers the wonders of
brushwork, then landscape does not equal painting.
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Nymph of the Luo River

Nymph of the Luo River
Traditionally attributed to Gu Kaizhi, ca. 345–406
China, Southern Song dynasty, 12th–13th century
Handscroll; ink and color on silk
310.0 x 24.0 cm (122 1/16 x 9 1/2 in.)
Gift of Charles Lang Freer   F1914.53
The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art
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