Bamboo in Wind and Rain, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji)
Hanging scroll, ink on paper, roughly 88 x 30 inches (223 x 76 cm). In the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Shitao, who was active in what Europeans would call the 17th century, was known for his paintings of bamboo, and his style was influential on other painters.
It is in exquisitely beautiful and deceptively simple ink paintings like this one that we can see the use of value as a kind of color. Monochromatic ink paintings of this type are sometimes referred to as having “colors”, meaning the tones of the ink.
Each leaf has been painted with exacting care and superb confidence. I love the almost drybrush effects at the base of the culms, and the wonderful shapes of the new shoots behind them.