Letter to the artist’s father-in-law, Wu Yu

Wen Zhengming Chinese

Not on view

In the mid-sixteenth century, Wen Zhengming dominated the cultural life of Suzhou with his significant talents in poetry, painting, and calligraphy. This letter shows a different side of Wen, when he was young and his star was still on the rise. Writing in his mid-thirties to his father-in-law, he assumes the tone not of a leading cultural figure but a deferential and respectful junior. The fancy stationery with plum blossom design is another sign that Wen wanted his letter to make a good impression.

Letter to the artist’s father-in-law, Wu Yu, Wen Zhengming (Chinese, 1470–1559), Album leaf; ink on patterned paper, China

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