“Clouds are my only companions; Please forgive the mountain recluse for not greeting his guests.”
The inscription underlines the spirit of the painting. At times we need to withdraw from people and just be by ourselves to recharge and rebalance. The painting shows a mountain scene, a tree in the center and a small house next to it. The rest of the landscape is obscured by soft clouds and mists wavering around the rocks. They block out the world below so entirely that it seems like the house and tree are the only things in the universe. Beyond them, there is only emptiness.
The figure in the house turns his back to the scenery. He savours the silence and peace granted by his remote and reclusive location. Sure that he will not be disturbed, he immerses himself into his book.
Looking at this painting, I can feel his calm concentration and the peace of a mind for once left to itself.
Artwork: Feng Zikai, ca. 1940, Reading by the Window. Seen in “Between Two Cultures: Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Chinese Paintings“, p. 126.