May 24, 2010

Paintings after Ancient Masters

Paintings after Ancient Masters

老蓮橅古

1598–1652

Part of a set. See all set records

Chen Hongshou 陳洪綬

(Chinese, 1598/99–1652)

China, Ming dynasty

(1368–1644)

Double album with twenty-two leaves; ink or ink and color on silk

Overall: 30.2 x 26.7 cm (11 7/8 x 10 1/2 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1979.27

Location

Did you know?

Chen Hongshou made this double album with twenty paintings for a friend, Lin Zhongqing.

Description

The twenty paintings in this double album by Chen Hongshou include landscapes, figures, and flowers. It also has one leaf featuring a woman, an often-used subject not found in the other albums from the latter part of his career. His late works are wonderful summations of Chen's peculiar and quirky art—archaistic, hyper-refined—but without accompanying shallowness or sentimentality.

His figures and landscapes in the late albums are miniaturized, not unlike the small Chinese gardens, or the carefully selected small table rocks or old roots used for contemplation to see the world in miniature. This loss of scale is quite deliberate and reflects the psychological situation of a depressed class like the Ming loyalist officials and scholars, deprived of their integrity and honor, and forced to lead a diminished and restricted existence.

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