Image (painting): 12 1/2 x 42 1/2 in. (31.8 x 108 cm) Image (colophon): 12 1/2 x 38 3/8 in. (31.8 x 97.5 cm) Overall with mounting: 13 x 117 1/2 in. (33 x 298.5 cm)
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Not on view
This poem, written in the running-script style of Huang Tingjian (1045–1105), is one of two poems by Wen appended to this painting. Both texts reveal Wen Zhengming's early study of the Northern Song master's large-scale calligraphy. Wen Zhengming devoted his life to the revival and creative reinterpretation of the expressive traditions of Song and Yuan painting and calligraphy. Wen particularly admired the writing style of Huang Tingjian, a passion he acquired from his mentor Shen Zhou (1427–1509). Wen's bold calligraphy stands in marked contrast to the officially sanctioned standard-script style practiced by court bureaucrats and reflects his independent nature.
A final colophon by Wen explains the circumstances surrounding the poems' creation. Wen wrote the poems in 1512 for his friend Qian Tongai (1475–1549). The poems were subsequently acquired by Nanzhou, abbot of the Tianwang Temple. When Wen visited Nanzhou in 1515 he saw his poems and appended his colophon.