Su Shi: China’s ‘Da Vinci’ set to break auction house records

Portrait of Su Shi (via The Value)

Su Shi is known as the Chinese Leonardo whose scroll painting is set to break Christie’s auction house record for the most expensive Asian artwork of all-time.

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Su Shi, a household name in China, was an 11th-century scholar, statesman, poet, writer, calligrapher and artist, whose painting style has influenced virtually every Chinese painter ever since, according to Kim Yu, Christie’s international senior specialist of Chinese paintings.

He began an “aesthetic revolution” that departed from the highly detailed and meticulous academic Song dynasty works, which required months to complete. Su Shi’s “Wood and Rock” is a simple and spontaneous work created for the artist’s personal pleasure and painted in one sitting, Yu said.

Measuring nearly 11 inches high, and almost 20 inches wide, the original ink-on-paper work depicts a gnarled, leafless tree and a rock behind from which a few young bamboo shoots emerge.

By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.