Handscroll, ink and color on silk
Painting: 28.5 x 137.5 cm (11 1/4 x 54 1/8 in.); Overall: 29.2 x 556.4 cm (11 1/2 x 219 1/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1960.181
Only the elegant first horse with a white blaze is accompanied by two grooms, as if its lightning speed required extra supervision.
Ren Renfa's horse images are elegant in appearance and vigorous in spirit. His work attracted not only Chinese scholars but also the Mongols at the imperial court. Inspired by the contemporary scholarly interest in restoring a sense of antiquity in art—an artistic direction led by Zhao Mengfu that exerted a great impact in the Yuan art scene—Ren Renfa, like Zhao Mengfu, modeled his depictions of horses after the Song master Li Gonglin. Another key style component that Ren introduced to this genre was a revival of the Tang classical tradition. The refined color treatment of the horses as seen here was derived from the Tang master Han Gan.
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