Ma Yüan

Ma Yüan

(mä yüän), fl. c.1190–1225, Chinese painter of the Sung dynasty and foremost of the Ma family of painters. He became one of the most important landscape painters of the 12th and 13th cent., the other being Hsia KueiHsia Kuei
, c.1180–1230, Chinese painter of the Sung dynasty. Little is known of his life. He and his contemporary Ma Yüan were regarded as the greatest landscape painters of the day and were the founders of the so-called Ma-Hsia school of landscape painting.
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. He was known for his "one-cornered" compositions, in which dramatic effect was achieved by crisp, forceful brushstrokes, asymmetrical arrangement of elements, and drastic elimination of all but essentials. Attribution of his works is difficult because many later painters followed his style and because toward the end of his life he collaborated with his son Ma Lin, often signing his own name to his son's works. Landscape with Willows (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston) is generally attributed to Ma Yüan, as are album leaves in the Cleveland Museum of Art and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ma Yüan

 

(Ch’in-shan). Born in the late 12th century; died in the first half of the 13th century, in the province of Shansi. Chinese painter. Active at the academy of painting in Hangchou.

A follower of Li T’ang, Ma Yuan painted landscapes (Solitary Fisherman on the River in Cold Weather, National Museum, Tokyo) and works in the “flowers and birds” genre (Plum Blossoms, Stones, and Wild Ducks in a Mountain Stream, Ku-kung Museum, Peking). Ma Yiian’s landscapes, monochromatic and tinted, profoundly reflect a philosophical conception of nature as a single and infinite world; they are characterized by a contemplative mood imbued with restrained excitement. Ma Yuan made wide use of new techniques in Chinese painting, such as asymmetrical composition (“off-center landscape”) and bold, broad strokes (“great blows with an ax”).

REFERENCES

Nikolaeva, N. S. Khudozhnik, poet, filosof: Ma Yuan’ i ego vremia. Moscow, 1968.
Chang An-chih. Ma Yuan, Hsia Kuei. Peking, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.