2016: Cheng Pei, Four Herons In The Snow
ink on silk, 111,3 x 89,2 cm
Cheng Pei is a Chinese artist born in Yangzhou in the early 18th century. However, it is known today only for works produced outside China. Student of Shen Nanpin (to 1682- after 1760), he actually accompanies him to Japan in 1731 and seems to stay there when his master, one of the most outstanding symbols of artistic exchanges between China and Japan during Edo era, returns to China two years later.
Cheng Pei is also an embodiment of the strength of these cultural transfers, albeit in different ways. The present work testifies to the incorporation by Cheng Pei of the codes of Japanese painting as emphasized by the composition based on an oblique and the bottom covered with a light wash on which the herons stand out in reserve. On the other hand, the spirit of this painting remains deeply Chinese by the apposition of a colophon reproducing a poem of the time of the Tang (618-907), whereas the Japanese painting very willingly accepted the realization of naturalistic subjects cleared of all justification of literary order and tended to reduce the texts inscribed on the works to their simplest expression, even to the signature of the artist.