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The original figure painting Elegant Gathering in the Western Garden (Xiyuan yaji tu), attributed to Li Gonglin (1040–1106), depicts the congregation of sixteen literati—including Su Shi (1037–1101), Su Zhe (1039–1112), Huang Tingjian (1045–1105), and Qin Guan (1049–1100)—at the official residence of Wang Shen (ca. 1048–after 1104) during the Yuanyou reign (1086–1094). Ding Guanpeng (d. after 1770) painted this work in the manner of a similar painting by Qiu Ying (ca. 1498–ca. 1552), whose classic court-style painting was kept in the palace treasury. The painting and the inscriptions upon it by Zhuang Yougong (1713–1767) and Ji Huang (1711–1794) were all accomplished as per imperial behest, which demonstrates the Qianlong Emperor’s (r. 1736–1795) fondness for this genre.
From Shuntian (in present-day Beijing), Ding Guanpeng was a court painter of the Qing dynasty. He excelled in painting figures and landscapes. Known for his orderly, meticulous style, he was influenced by European painting styles.
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Kang Xiaolu