Spring outing

Shen Zhou1483 - Ming dynasty

Hong Kong Museum of Art

Hong Kong Museum of Art
Hong Kong , Hong Kong

The brushwork and composition of this painting are rather close to the style of the fourteenth-century artists Huang Gongwang (1269 - 1354) and Ni Zan (1301 - 1374). In the first section of this scroll, Shen Zhou combined the styles of Ni and Huang. He employed the long hemp–fibre texture strokes of Huang Gongwang to paint the rocks and hills and adopted Ni Zan's dots using dark ink. Ni Zan rarely painted figure in his landscapes. But in the middle section of this scroll, Shen Zhou has maintained some of the features of the Wu School, putting in several huts along with people living in them. This reflects the literati tastes of the mid-Ming period. The creek in front of the house leads our view towards the large area of water in the distance. Shen Zhou employed a horizontal composition to achieve Ni Zan's image of a boundless river. At the end of the scroll, the style of Ni Zan is most clearly seen in the sparsely scattered bare trees and the rocks painted with "folded belt texture strokes". This long scroll fully indicates how the style of Shen Zhou reflects the impact of the Yuan masters.


  • Title: Spring outing
  • Creator: Shen Zhou
  • Creator Lifespan: 1427 - 1509
  • Creator Nationality: Chinese
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China
  • Creator Birth Place: Suzhou, Jiangsu province, China
  • Date: 1483 - Ming dynasty
  • Theme: Landscape
  • Physical Dimensions: w356 x h34 cm
  • History of Donation: The Xubaizhai Gallery of Chinese Art was established in 1992, specifically for exhibiting the collection that donated to the Hong Kong Museum of Art by the famous connoisseur and collector of Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Mr Low Chuck Tiew (Liu Zuochou) in 1989.
  • Artist's Biography: Shen Zhou, alias Qinan, was a native of Suzhou, Jiangsu province. His grandfather and father were painters and he studied painting with Du Qiong (1396 - 1474) and Liu Jue (1410 - 1472). Modelling his paintings on the styles of the masters of the Yuan Dynasty, Shen's interest extended to the works of the "Zhe School" and he also incorporated their painting techniques into his works. As a young painter, he worked in small formats with restrained and tightly-woven brushstrokes, a style which became known as the "fine Shen". After the age of forty, he adopted large formats and painted in a bold and expressive manner, which came to be termed as the "rough Shen" style. Shen Zhou's students included Wen Zhengming (1470 - 1559) and Tang Yin (1470 - 1523). He was hailed as the most prominent master of the "Wu School of Painting" and one of the Four Masters of the Ming Dynasty. Shen was also proficient in poetry and calligraphy, following the style of the calligrapher Huang Tingjian (1045 - 1105).
  • Type: Ink on paper
  • Rights: Hong Kong Museum of Art

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