Title:Untitled (album of birds, flowers, and landscapes)
Creator:Ch'en Hung-shou (Chen Hungshou)
Description:As a young boy Ch'en studied with the great professional landscapist Lan Ying and was a star pupil. His landscape paintings often show a strong decorative quality that demonstrates his ability to go beyond his teachers' example. Ch'en attempted the civil service examinations three times; after his third failure he turned his attention permanently to painting and began designing woodblocks. He also gained a reputation as a drinker and lover of women and other amusements.
"This [work by Ch'en Hung-shou] is a small, almost pocket album. It's painted in a stiff style, almost like designs for lacquer, or something decorative . . . Mostly Ch'en Hung-shou is [regarded as] a figure master, very refined. [However], before he became a really refined painter he started out rather deliberately emphasizing his craft origin. So, that this could be a genuine Ch'en Hung-shou was something I didn't originally believe, but came around to it as everyone did, and now everybody recognizes it for the real thing."