The Three Perfections: Image, Poem, and Calligraphy in Chinese Painting
December 18, 2021 - December 4, 2022
Western viewers are often curious about why Chinese artists write on their paintings and what the characters say. This exhibition answers such questions and explores the idea of integrating fine painting, poetry, and calligraphy, known as the “Three Perfections,” in a single artwork.
In traditional China, painting was regarded as “silent poetry,” and poetry as “painting with sound.” Both could only be manifested through the “art of handwriting”—calligraphy. Scholars and scholar-artists used calligraphic brushstrokes in their paintings and considered their artworks to be vehicles of self-expression. As a result, painting was not only considered the only art pure and lyrical enough to stand on an equal footing with poetry and contemplative thought, but also something through which one could experience sight, sound, smell, touch, and emotions.