Wen Zhengming (Chinese, 1470 - 1559), Discourse in Green Shade, 1470-1559, Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Hanging scroll. Ink on paper. H. 40 1/8 in x W. 11 1/4 in, H. 101.9 cm x W. 28.6 cm (image); H. 104 3/4 in x W. 24 1/2 in, H. 266.1 cm x W. 62.2 cm (overall). Museum purchase, B68D9 © 2016 Asian Art Museum Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture
This painting presents a scene of quiet, scholarly life spent in harmony with nature. Wen Zhengming used dry brushwork and ink with little tonal variation for this composition. In theme and execution this painting (and the fan painting by the same artist in this gallery) crystallizes the values of the more scholarly painting traditions that flourished in and around Wen Zhengming's hometown of Suzhou, of which he was a leading master during the 1500s. After a brief, unsatisfying political career, Wen returned to his native Suzhou and lived a life of painting and other scholarly pursuits. Those inspired by Wen Zhengming's painting style included Wen Jia and other painters whose works are displayed in this gallery, all of whom followed the Suzhou painting traditions during the late Ming dynasty.