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Shen Zhou

Chinese, 1427-1509

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Shen Zhou (1427-1509) was a Chinese painter, poet, and calligrapher known for founding the Wu school. His style name was Qi Nan and his sobriquet was Shi Tian. He was born into a wealthy Confucian family in Suzhou and his school is deemed a "literati" school of painting. Despite that, he never tried to be an official and thus never took the civil service examinations. He avoided painting "pretty" pictures in favor of a style based on the Yuan masters. The poems he wrote to accompany the paintings were often as important as the paintings themselves. Therefore his poetry, painting, and calligraphy were all one composition as was common in Chinese art.

He is considered one of the Ming dynasty's master painters whose work showed the importance of Neo-Confucianism to the era. Along with his pupil Wen Cheng-ming, they set the standards for scholarly painting up to the end of the 16th century.



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