Luo Ping's life began with loss and sadness. His father died when Luo was just one year old, and his mother soon after. But from an early age the young orphan was recognised as a talented poet and gained admission to the exclusive artistic circles of his home town, Yangzhou. At nineteen he married - for love - the poet and painter Fang Wanyi (1732–1779). Their daughter and two sons also went on to become artists. All painted plum blossoms, the family trademark.
Five years after his marriage Luo met the man who would change his life. This was the nationally renowned poet, artist and bon viveur, Jin Nong (1687–1763). The thickset, 70-year-old master took a great liking to the talented young man, who was in turn inspired by the emotional and expressive art of his mentor. Luo also painted pictures for Jin Nong, who signed them with his own name and sold them. When, after six years of this close collaboration, Jin Nong died, Luo buried his teacher with as much reverence as if it were the funeral of his own father.
In the second half of his life Luo often visited the capital, Beijing, where he caused a sensation in the fashionable cultural scene. On to a long painting scroll which he showed to everyone, he had painted ghosts and claimed to have seen such creatures with his own eyes: “Some expose teeth like melon seeds, and have fingers large as thighs.” Luo died, highly esteemed, at the age of sixty-six. Throughout his life he saw himself as an austere Buddhist and signed his work with the name “the Monk of the Flower Temple”.
The two most important museums in China, the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Shanghai Museum, along with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York came together under the direction of the Museum Rietberg to assemble the first ever comprehensive presentation of the work of this outstanding eighteenth-century artist.