Landscapes of the Four Seasons, Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707), Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper, China

清 石濤(朱若極) 四季山水圖 冊
Landscapes of the Four Seasons

Shitao (Zhu Ruoji) (Chinese, 1642–1707)
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Album of eight leaves; ink and color on paper
8 1/4 x 12 3/8 in. (21 x 31.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of John M. Crawford Jr., 1988
Accession Number:
Not on view
Shitao frequently employed the album format to give full play to his imaginative use of brush techniques and compositional designs. In this series of eight leaves, datable stylistically to the last decade of the artist's life, he explores the theme of landscape. Working in a free, wet-ink manner, Shitao reveals his independence from conventional models and methods in these highly personal images. As he observed in his Recorded Sayings on Painting of about 1700:

Even if my brush does not resemble brush and my ink does not resemble ink and my painting does not resemble painting, I make sure that my self is always present in my work.

(Wen Fong, trans.)
Signature: Signed, undated, ten artist's seals:
a) Signature: Xiaochengke (Hinayana Disciple)
Seal: Qianyu longmian Ji, Toubai yinran bushi zi
Inscription: Green mountains, peaceful rain penetrates the vague distance
b) Signature: Dadidau Ji
Seal: Shuzhun Zhang Yuan
c) Signature: Lingding Laoren
Inscription: The homecomer's road forks and descends to the level stream
d) Signature: Dadizi
Seal: Qizhue
Inscription: The painting summons
dreams of a small skiff,
All night the sound of the river
shakes a traveller's bed.
E) Signature: Dadizi
Seal: Qianyu longmian Qi
Inscription: Don't think that Peach Spring
contains the dusty world;
The brush tip flies from
Wuyi's torrent.
F) Signature: Qingxiang laoren
Seal: Qianyu longmian Qi
Inscription: On far mountains and near mountains
green shadows drip
from big trees and small trees
leaves are already scattered.
G) Signature: Dadizi
Seal: one, unidentified
Inscription: My eyes are dimmed from the riverbank;
The leaves of the trees are flying.
H) Signature: Dadizi

Marking: Collectors' seals:
Zhang Daqian (1899–1983), 12 seals
John M. Crawford, Jr., 2 seals

a) Zhang Daqian, 2 seals: Zhang Yuan; Daqian-?
b) Zhang Daqian
c) Yuan (Zhang Daqian)
d) Zhang Daqian, 2 seals: Zhang Yuan yin; Daqian zhushi
e) Zhang Daqian: Zhang yuan zhiyin
f) Zhang Daqian, 2 seals, one of Daqian in oracle bone script.
g) Zhang Daqian
John M. Crawford Jr. , New York (until d. 1988; bequeathed to MMA)
Providence. Bell Gallery, List Art Center. "The Individualists: Chinese Painting and Calligraphy of the 17th Century from the Collection of John M. Crawford, Jr.," April 26, 1980–May 18, 1980.