Album of sixteen paintings and one leaf of calligraphy; ink and color on paper
Image (six leaves): 12 13/16 x 22 9/16 in. (32.5 x 57.3 cm) Image (ten leaves): 13 1/8 x 22 3/4 in. (33.3 x 57.8 cm)
Gift of Douglas Dillon, 1986
Not on view
Following Shen Zhou’s (1427–1509) example of treating still-life painting as uninhibited “ink plays,” Chen Chun strove to turn his flower paintings into spontaneous “idea writings.” Realistic flower paintings had been a popular subject since at least the tenth century, and Chen Chun was perhaps the greatest exponent of this genre in his time. This album, with a rich variety of spring blossoms, treats flowers not merely as botanical specimens but also as inevitable reminders of the brevity of life, beauty, and material existence.
Signature: Each leaf bears one of the three artist's seals found after Chen Chun's inscription.
(a, b) Two doublet leaf frontispiece sheets in four large clerical script (lishu) characters- two to a sheet: (a) Baiyang; (b) zahua [Miscellaneous Flowers by Baiyang]
(s, t) Double sheet, inscription by artist: "In the gengzi year of the Jiajing era (1540), I traveled to Yushan and passed by Mr. Chou Liuguan's 'thatched hut' [caotang]. The owner brought out this album, prepared the powdered colors and inscribed it as pictures of miscellanous plants. My stay extended until it became several months and before I knew it, I had filled the album. Those who look at it might best regard it as an album of studies. [signed] Daofu made this [followed by three seals] Baiyang shanren, Chen Taofu shi and Fusheng yin."
Inscription: Colophons: Leaf t: Wen Peng (1498–1573), right section, in running script Wang Zhideng (1535–1612), left section, standard script Leaf u: Jin nong (1687–after 1764)
Edward Elliott; Douglas Dillon , New York (1981–1986; donated to MMA; on loan to MMA from 1981
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Peach Blossom Spring," November 21, 1983–June 3, 1984.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. "Late Wu School Painting and Calligraphy," September 14, 1984–October 28, 1984.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Late Wu School Painting and Calligraphy," December 2, 1984–January 27, 1985.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Chinese Galleries: An Inaugural Installation," 1997.
New York. Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, CUNY. "The Light of Infinite Wisdom: Asian Art from the Godwin-Ternbach Museum and Other Collections," October 15, 2003–December 20, 2003.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Four Seasons," January 28, 2006–August 13, 2006.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance," January 23, 2009–September 13, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Gardens: Pavilions, Studios, Retreats," August 18, 2012–January 6, 2013.