Wang Shimin | China | The Paramount Member of the group of Chinese painters known as the Four Wangs
Wang Shimin (王時敏, 1592–1680), courtesy name Xunzhi (遜之), pseudonyms Yanke (煙客) and Xilu Laoren (西廬老人), was a Chinese landscape painter during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Born in Taicang near modern Shanghai, Wang grew up in an artistic, scholarly environment. His grandfather Wang Xijue (王錫爵) was a prime minister in the late Ming dynasty, and his father Wang Heng (王衡) was a Hanlin Academy editor for the court. Starting from a tender age, Wang Shimin was introduced to the study of painting and calligraphy, and was a pupil of Dong Qichang.
After learning painting and calligraphy at a young age, Wang worked as a government official. However he fell ill due to exhaustion on a trip to Nanking in 1630. Wang returned to his homeland and immersed himself in art, creating numerous works. Wang's works place him in an elevated group known as the Four Wangs, also part of the Six Masters of the early Qing period.
Wang Shimin was the eldest of the “Four Wangs”—the others being Wang Jian (1598–1677), Wang Hui (1632–1717), and Wang Yuanqi (1642–1715). They were the leaders of the Orthodox school of painting in the early Qing period.