This is a rare oil portrait painting by Li Yishi. The person in the painting is Chen Shizeng (1876–1923), one of the most respected painters in the art scene of Beijing in the early Republic of China. As an important figure in Beijing's cultural and artistic circle, Chen was a close friend to Lu Xun, and encouraged Qi Baishi to carry out his art reform in his later years.

Li adopted a Classical Realist style in working on this painting, capturing the whole body of Chen seated on a chair. The portrait features a refined figure, restrained coloration and meticulous shaping of the subject and handling of the background, all indications of Chen’s sophistication and classical aesthetic cultivation and echoes of his extraordinary artistic background and widely respected reputation. The background of this portrait is a stone rubbing of an ancient painting from the Han dynasty while the foreground is decorated with old clay pots, both from Chen’s favorite collection.


  • Title: Portrait of Chen Shizeng
  • Creator: Li Yishi
  • Date Created: 1920
  • Physical Dimensions: 130×70 cm
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas

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