Wen Zhengming

Wen Zhengming
or Wen Cheng-ming

born 1470, Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China
died 1559

Chinese painter, calligrapher, and scholarly figure.

Born to an established family, Wen Zhengming was by nature sensitive and withdrawn, and it was not until age 53 that he emerged from his scholarly isolation, receiving the recognition of the court with his appointment to the Hanlin Academy. He stayed there for only three years and then retired to produce his best-known works. He was expert at the four major styles of calligraphy: seal, official, regular, and "running." In all his paintings there is a spirit of studied antiquarianism and cautious consideration. In technique, Wen Zhengming's paintings range from the highly detailed to the more freely washed. Along with his teacher, Shen Zhou, he was a leading figure of the Wu school of scholar-artists.

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▪ Chinese artist
Wade-Giles romanization  Wen Cheng-ming , original name  Wen Bi 
born 1470, Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China
died 1559

      Chinese painter, calligrapher, and scholarly figure who was a student of Shen Zhou; these two artists are considered the leading figures of the Wu school of scholar-artists in China.

      Born to an established family, Wen Zhengming was brought up in a strongly Confucian home, and he met many of the learned people of his time. He was by nature sensitive and withdrawn, and it was not until age 53 that he emerged from his scholarly isolation, receiving the recognition of the court with his appointment to the Hanlin Academy. He stayed there for only three years and then retired to produce his best-known works.

      Wen Zhengming was expert at the four major styles of calligraphy: seal, official, regular, and “running.” He was also known as a collector and connoisseur, especially of calligraphy. In painting he admired the great literati of the Yuan dynasty (1206–1368) as well as earlier artists from the Song (960–1279) and Five Dynasties (907–960) periods. He followed no single style, but in all his paintings there is a spirit of studied antiquarianism and cautious consideration. In technique his paintings range from the highly detailed to the more freely washed. His students included his son, Wen Jia, and his nephew, Wen Boren.

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Universalium. 2010.

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