Set of four hanging scrolls; ink and color on paper
Image (a): 126 3/8 x 37 in. (321 x 94 cm)
Image (b): 127 1/4 x 36 7/8 in. (323.2 x 93.7 cm)
Image (c): 126 3/4 x 36 7/8 in. (321.9 x 93.7 cm)
Image (d): 126 7/8 x 36 7/8 in. (322.3 x 93.7 cm)
Overall with mounting (b): 141 3/4 x 42 3/8 in. (360 x 107.6 cm)
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 2008
Not on view
These two paintings belong to a set of enormous landscapes depicting the four seasons. They are all similarly composed, with large figures at the bottom and towering mountains above. Each season has its own narrative. In the springtime scene (right), two gentlemen on horseback cross a bridge with their servants. In the summer scene (left), travelers struggle against a strong wind, while a gentleman in a pavilion observes the storm.
In his paintings Xie Shichen creates spaces that are poetic rather than representational, incorporating narrative vignettes and stylistic references to past masters. Here, he skillfully blends two distinct modes of painting. The first, favored by professional painters, is that of the Zhe School, which tended toward large-scale narrative subjects. The second is ascribed to the Wu School, whose calligraphic approach to landscapes was preferred by scholar-amateurs.
Inscription: Artist’s inscriptions and signatures
Scroll A (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
Scroll B (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
Scroll C (2 columns in semi-cursive script):
Scroll D (2 columns in semi-cursive script, dated 1560):
姑蘇臺下逸人 樗僲囗囗 嘉靖壬子時年六十六 樗僲 謝氏思忠 七十四翁 樗僲翁
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Yuan Revolution: Art and Dynastic Change," August 21, 2010–January 9, 2011.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.