Paintings in Print: Studying Art in China
In the 16th century, Chinese publishers began creating educational art manuals that were filled with colorful prints of paintings and texts on the history and methods of brush arts. The manuals were unprecedented because they taught aspiring painters and collectors from the growing merchant class how to create and appreciate literati art—a combination of painting, calligraphy, and poetry long practiced by elite scholars. Drawing from The Huntington’s collection, “Paintings in Print” will focus on two books: The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting and the Ten Bamboo Studio Collection of Calligraphy and Painting. The books are displayed together, in their entirety, for the first time in the United States. The texts are presented in their original form as well as digitized to allow visitors to explore the materials more closely.
The books are complemented with paintings—including recent donations from the Berman Foundation—that exemplify how artists studied manuals like these to learn the basics of their art.