Landscapes and poems

Dong Qichang Chinese

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 213

Miffed that his tutor ranked him below his cousin because of inferior calligraphy, Dong Qichang at the age of sixteen dedicated himself to a study of the great calligraphers of the past. By the end of the century, he had become the most influential calligrapher of his age. Although Dong championed the aesthetic of monochromatic ink styles, he indulged in decorative effects in this album, using gold flecked paper with occasional mineral colors for the paintings and choosing a satin ground for his sleek cursive script. Each of the eight leaves, except number seven, is an homage to a past master paired with excerpts from Tang-dynasty landscape poetry. Despite the broad range of styles Dong imitated, the landscapes are remarkably similar to one another and reflect Dong's own intellectual approach to painting most of all.

Landscapes and poems, Dong Qichang (Chinese, 1555–1636), Album of eight double leaves; ink, gold, and color on gold-flecked paper and ink on satin, China

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