Chinese landscape painter, a follower of Jing Hao, one of the founders of the genre of the monochrome landscape. Along with Guan Tong and Lee Chan it is called one of the three founders of landscape school. The most famous of the direct disciples of Li Cheng.
Fan Kuan was a Daoist mountain hermit who enjoyed life. At the end of X – beginning of XI century cases in the Song dynasty of the Empire was fairly prosperous and educated segments of Chinese society was a departure from the military ideology towards increasing thrust to the peace and joy of the warrior. Among Metropolitan aesthetes was a common fashion to call themselves "shanzhen" ("recluse" or "mountain hermit") in order to add a touch of non-conformism to your enlightened person. In contrast to the capital aesthetes of fan Kuan was a real hermit, wore rough clothes, consumed simple food, loved the wine and the road, a man full of noble simplicity, with a rude and intemperate manner. Critic of the XI Th century Jo-Xu explains: "the Appearance of Kuan harsh as in ancient times, the behavior of wild rough".
He was the complete opposite of aristocratic and refined Lee Chan. Who lived in the XI century artist and critic Liu Daochun wrote a treatise "Critique of painting our dynasty", which is trying to characterize the essence of creativity of these two great masters of landscape, chose opposition to the "Wen" and "y" (in a broader sense can be translated as "civil" and "military"), associating with Li Cheng of civil peace and pleasure, and fan Kuan with military prowess. Perhaps the fan Kuan was one of those last artist that his art of the landscape conveyed a love of courage, frankness and determination. Their understanding of their work Liu Daochun expressed thus: "the Landscape of Li Cheng opened like a window to the beckoning distance, the landscape of fan Kuan is closed for us, it blocks the sight like a wall."
This feature confirms the most famous landscape of fan Kuan "Travelers among mountains and streams" (NPM, Taipei), which is considered one of the masterpieces of world art. Two-meter height, the scroll consists of two pieces of silk joined at the center. Maybe he was stuck in a big screen, or mounted on the wall. The landscape fascinates by its strength, it resembles the wall of a giant fortress, which hid the rest of the world. The product performed very carefully; the artist has depicted several types of different trees, and the texture of the mountains is transmitted inherent only in the fan Kuan strokes and plain mascara. In the lower right corner is his signature.
Of Fan Kuan. Cold forest in the snowy plain. Tianjin City Museum.
Fan Kuan attributed to several landscape scrolls, in particular, "the Cold forest snow-covered plains" (Tianjin municipal Museum). The construction of this landscape is similar to the previous one: in the foreground a little open space, and behind him stands a powerful mountain range, closing the distance. Snow, frozen and bare winter trees adds even more to the severity of this wild beauty.
Despite the fact that of fan Kuan, in all probability, he studied Li Cheng, he was able to create their own special style of landscape. Go Jo-Xu notes, "His unusual ability is excellent. The style was different (styles) of Tong Guan and Lee Cheng...". In another Juan of his treatise "notes on the painting: seen and heard" Jo-Xu characterizes the style of these three outstanding artists: "Among landscape painters only from Incu Cheng, Guan Tong of Chang'an and fan Kuan of Huayuan understood the "amazing" reached "divine", a height of illumination has exceeded all categories". Go Jo-Xu also reports that in addition to the landscape of fan Kuan was a master of "ganyu" (the so-called "genre painting"), and further describes the features of his painting style: "When the fan draws the trees in the forest, they, sloped, curved forms similar to fallen roof. He also has other influences and rules, but I've never seen them drawn pine trees and cypresses. When he paints of the home, it passes them to the main feature, surrounded by a dense layer of mascara; the eyes of his followers, they seemed to be built of iron."
Later the master of a monochrome landscape of Guo XI thought he is not sleek and attractive. The thrust of the court elite to grace was growing, and shortly after the death of Guo XI's "not elegant" was already his landscapes. However, it took a little more time, and the works of fan Kuan has gained the status of monuments of landscape Chinese national who studied and copied by artists of many generations.