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44) Shen Chou (1427-1509). Landscape in the Manner of Ni Tsan. Hanging scroll, ink on paper, dated 1484. In Opposition to the Che School, the Wu School and its founder Shen Chou, advocated and practiced a return to the literati styles of the Yuan dynasty. Shen Chou, rich landholder who never took office, was the center of a group of painters and connoisseurs in the lower Yangtze valley, who formed the nucleus of the Wu School. Shen Chou is the most versatile and most important painter of the fifteenth century. This painting shows him copying and working in the manner of the Yuan painter Ni Tsan (see above No. 40). Yet, although Shen Chou has copied the basic Yuan "hills beyond a river composition," just as Tai Chin (above No. 42) has elaborated on and gone beyond the sparse Southern Sung style of Ma Yuan, so Shen Chou has fleshed out the sparse style of Ni Tsan. Comparing the Ni Tsan and the Shen Chou reworking, one may see first-hand the difference and development of literati painting from Yuan to Ming: while Ni Tsan is plane and austere, Shen Chou is an extrovert who delights in infusing human warmth into his paintings. When Shen Chou was once copying a Ni Tsan painting, Shen's teacher shouted at him "Overdone! Overdone!" But Shen Chou in his own defense replied, "Ni Tsan is simple; I am complex."

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