Dong Qichang | China | Painting Master in Ming Dynasty
Dong Qichang (董其昌, 1555–1636), courtesy name Xuanzai (玄宰), was a Chinese painter, scholar, calligrapher, and art theorist of the later period of the Ming dynasty.
Dong Qichang is perhaps best known for his writings on Chinese painting. Dividing Chinese painting into “Northern” and “Southern” schools, as first suggested by his older contemporary and friend Mo Shilong, he traced the lineage and analyzed the traditions of both branches.
In his paintings, Dong Qichang especially favoured the Four Masters of the Yuan dynasty (Huang Gongwang, Wu Zhen, Wang Meng, and Ni Zan), who had both the selfless personality and the personal style indicative of the artist-scholar’s highest ideal.
Landscapes in the Manner of Old Masters, is collected in Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Landscape after a Poem by Du Fu "The Rock Cliff Reveals, After the Clouds Passing by, its Face of Brocade and Embroidery".
Dong Qichang was also the leading art theorist of his day, developing the notion that Chinese painting could be divided into two approaches – the “northern” one of gradually painting with fine lines and colors as well as a “southern” one of working more quickly with calligraphic strokes. This theory came to dominate Chinese art history for more than 200 years. Dong Qichang’s writings appear on his art itself as well as in various compilations of his writings—including the anthologies Huayen (畫眼, The Eye of Painting), Huazhi (畫旨, The Meaning of Painting), and Huachanshi Suibi (畫禪室隨筆, Notes from the Painting-Meditation Studio).