Vernacular Painting and Transitional Beijing: Chen Shizeng's Beijing Fengsu Album, ca. 1915
Art and Art History
Archives of Asian Art
Created around 1915, Chen Shizeng’s Beijing Fengsu album represents a pictorial experiment that led to his subsequent well-known theoretical recasting of Chinese literati painting as a progressive and universally comprehensible visual language. Through an examination of the stylistic and technical innovations of the paintings, the essay demonstrates that the album’s function as a visual record of Beijing folk customs is in part a historical byproduct of a then urgent attempt to establish the pictorial expression of a new subjectivity by a leading member of China’s last generation of literati. Through the aid of drawing from direct observation, emulation of visual effects from Western-style drawing using Chinese ink and pigments, incorporation of antiquarian motifs, and unconventional compositional schemes, the album managed to reinvent vernacular painting ( fengsu hua) and establish the popular pictorial genre manhua in modern China.
Ren, Wei. "Vernacular Painting and Transitional Beijing: Chen Shizeng's Beijing Fengsu Album, ca. 1915." Archives of Asian Art 71, no. 2 (2021): 191-218. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/840257