Qi Baishi (1864 - 1957) was born in a peasant family. He was a carpenter in his early years and then became a professional painter. He is a representative figure of Chinese painting innovation and transformation, enjoying a high reputation both at home and abroad.
In 1917, Qi Baishi met Chen Shiceng who was the leader of painting circle in Beijing. Chen encouraged Qi to create his own painting style, so Qi Baishi began the famous "reform of declining years" when he was 57 years old.
This series of plants and insects painting album was created in 1924; it comprehensively displays Qi Baishi’s seeking for breakthrough in paintings. The painter, with his master-hand skills, captured every act and every move of small lives in the universe, matching plant flowers in free-hand style and insects in fine sketching. On the one hand, the seta on grasshopper’s legs can be clearly seen; grasshopper’s soft texture and yellow moth’s wings are delicately portrayed. On the other hand, the sketch of tree branches and leaves makes the whole album a combination of both dynamic and static, density and spacing, creating a strong visual contrast and also unified charm. Qi Baishi integrated flowers and insects which are commonly seen in the nature with his simplicity and modesty, converting the weak and sad in old literary works to vitality and abundance.