Holland Cotter in NYTimes
Quite a scene it is. Cliffs soar skyward; torrents stream down. This is a nature as a theater of big, dwarfing effects. And it’s charged with a weird, creaturely energy. Streams and Mountains Without End.
Hanging scrolls deliver their basic image fast — pow! — then leave you to sort out details. A second form of landscape painting, the hand scroll, operates on a different dynamic. When viewed as intended, slowly unrolled on a tabletop, one section at a time, it’s a cinematic experience, about anticipation, suspense, what’s coming next
In a section called “The Poetic Landscape,” he links nature painting to Chinese literary tradition. Common to both was a goal of making mood — existential atmosphere — primary content. A 14th-century hanging scroll by the Yuan painter Tang Di is based on a couplet by the famed poet Wang Wei (A.D. 699-759). Wang’s poem is telegraphically stark:
I walk to where the water ends
And sit and watch as clouds arise.
nature has a final word. The emperor, doing his emperor thing, is little more than a dot against the river behind him, which rolls on.