Wen Zhengming

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Wen.
Wen Zhengming
Born Wen Bi 文璧
(1470-11-28)November 28, 1470
Died March 28, 1559(1559-03-28) (aged 88)
Education Shen Zhou
Known for painting, calligraphy
Movement Wu School

Wen Zhengming (simplified Chinese: 文征明; traditional Chinese: 文徵明; pinyin: Wén Zhēngmíng; Wade–Giles: Wen Cheng-ming, 1470–1559) was a leading Ming dynasty painter, calligrapher, and scholar.

Born in present-day Suzhou, he claimed to be a descendant of the Song dynasty prime minister and patriot Wen Tianxiang. Wen’s family was originally from Hengyang, Hunan, where his family had established itself shortly after the 10th century. Not until the time of Wen's great-grandfather, Wen Hui, a military officer, did the family move to the Suzhou area. Zhengming's son, Wen Peng, was a noted seal-engraver.

Wen often chose painting subjects of great simplicity, like a single tree or rock. His work often brings about a feeling of strength through isolation, which often reflected his discontent with official life. Many of his works also celebrate the contexts of elite social life for which they were created. He collaborated in the design of the Humble Administrator's Garden, generally considered one of China's four greatest gardens.


  • Clunas, Craig. Elegant Debts: The Social Art of Wen Zhengming, 1470-1559. London: Reaktion Books, 2004.
  • Shan, Guoqiang, "Wen Zhengming". Encyclopedia of China (Arts Edition), 1st ed.

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