Yen Li-pen

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Yen Li-pen

Yen Li-pen (yŭn lē-bŭn), d. 673, Chinese painter, foremost master of the T'ang dynasty. He became the most celebrated court painter of the 7th cent. and held several high public offices. Although probably none of his original works survives today, records tell us that he was most renowned for his paintings of Buddhist and Taoist themes and also as the painter of historical personages and events. The superb scroll painting Portraits of Thirteen Emperors in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has been attributed to him but may be a copy. It represents the peak of early T'ang art.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yen Li-Pen


Born circa 600 in Shensi Province; died there 673. Chinese painter.

The outstanding representative of the early figure-painting genre, Yen Li-pen worked in the polychromatic tradition. His paintings, such as The Thirteen Emperors (ink and watercolors on silk; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), are characterized by a severe refinement of line and show a noble restraint of style. Yen Li-pen’s works also include monumental paintings; he frequently collaborated with his older brother Yen Li-teh (died 656), who was also an architect and a master of applied art.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.