This album contains a rare self-portrait that reflects Chen Hongshou's mood after enduring a number of personal tragedies. Four years earlier, in 1623, Chen's first wife died and he failed the provincial examinations; he would try and fail again in 1638. Depicting himselfin the conventional guise of the dejected scholar who seeks solace in drink, Chen makes no mention of these misfortunes in his accompanying inscription; instead, he writes of the thousands of miles of territory recently lost to Manchu encroachments in the northeast and of his fears that roving outlaw bands might steal his crops. But there is still time to get drunk, he writes, and he invites his friend Ping, to whom the painting is dedicated, to join him. In addition to the four leaves by Chen Hongshou, the album includes seven leaves by his son Chen Zi.In both painting and calligraphy, Chen Zi followed his father's style. In painting, however, the son transformed the older Chen's subtly varied brush mannerisms into hardened conventions. Nevertheless, the exaggerated features of Chen Zi's flowers and figures and their muted colors impart a sense of hoary antiquity.