Figures, flowers, and landscapes

leaves a–d by Chen Hongshou Chinese
leaves e–k by Chen Zi Chinese

Not on view

This album has four paintings by the late Ming master Chen Hongshou and seven by his son Chen Zi. The first is one of the most iconic images in Chen Hongshou’s oeuvre—a mournful self-portrait depicting the artist drowning his sorrows in wine. It is followed by paintings of landscapes, birds, flowers, and figures. The combining of diverse subjects in a single album was known as “zahua,” and it was an opportunity for a painter to demonstrate versatility. A zahua album is meant to delight the viewer with variety, as a new subject appears with each turn of the page.

The paintings may have been brought together into an album by a collector at a later date, or even perhaps by Chen Zi himself. Comparison of the two men’s work reveals that while Chen Zi worked in his father’s style, he could not match his father’s fluidity or quirky charm.

#7341. Figures, Flowers and Landscapes

Figures, flowers, and landscapes, leaves a–d by Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1598/99–1652), Album of eleven leaves; ink and color on silk, China

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