Album of sixteen paintings and one leaf of calligraphy; ink and color on paper
Image (six leaves): 12 13/16 x 22 9/16 in. (32.5 x 57.3 cm)
Image (ten leaves): 13 1/8 x 22 3/4 in. (33.3 x 57.8 cm)
Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1986
Not on view
Following Shen Zhou’s (1427–1509) example of treating still-life painting as uninhibited “ink plays,” Chen Chun strove to turn his flower paintings into spontaneous “idea writings.” Realistic flower paintings had been a popular subject since at least the tenth century, and Chen Chun was perhaps the greatest exponent of this genre in his time. This album, with a rich variety of spring blossoms, treats flowers not merely as botanical specimens but also as inevitable reminders of the brevity of life, beauty, and material existence.
Signature: Each leaf bears one of the three artist's seals found after Chen Chun's inscription.
(a, b) Two doublet leaf frontispiece sheets in four large clerical script (lishu) characters- two to a sheet: (a) Baiyang; (b) zahua [Miscellaneous Flowers by Baiyang]
(s, t) Double sheet, inscription by artist: "In the gengzi year of the Jiajing era (1540), I traveled to Yushan and passed by Mr. Chou Liuguan's 'thatched hut' [caotang]. The owner brought out this album, prepared the powdered colors and inscribed it as pictures of miscellanous plants. My stay extended until it became several months and before I knew it, I had filled the album. Those who look at it might best regard it as an album of studies. [signed] Daofu made this [followed by three seals] Baiyang shanren, Chen Taofu shi and Fusheng yin."
Inscription: Colophons: Leaf t: Wen Peng (1498–1573), right section, in running script Wang Zhideng (1535–1612), left section, standard script Leaf u: Jin nong (1687–after 1764)