Two Peonies and Two Bumble-Bees

Yu Fei’an

Yu Fei’an - Two Peonies and Two Bumble-Bees
Yu Fei’an is one of the most original Chinese painters of the 20th century. He learned from folk artists and studied scientific theories of colour. In the 1930s, he worked in the newly established Palace Museum in Beijing, and taught painting and calligraphy at various universities and later at the Academy of Fine Arts. He painted refined and elaborate artworks with natural themes; this painting of a peony and bumblebee is a brilliant example of his style. The inscription explains the significance of the chosen theme. The peony is special for its two blossoms of different colours growing on a single stem. It was allegedly grown by a certain Song gardener, who gave it to Emperor Huizong (reigned 1101–1125). Huizong was so enchanted by the strange flower that he composed a laudatory poem from which the painter quotes the following lines: “‘Red as a fine layered fabric’ and ‘red, which surpasses the red sky’ are two blossoms of different colours on a single stem.” Also worthy of attention is the brilliant calligraphy in the so-called slender golden style, whose origin is linked with the Song Emperor Huizong.
date:
measurements: height 102 cm
width 56,6 cm
material: Ink and colors on paper
technique: Painting
inscription:
inventory number: Vm 640
gallery collection: Collection of Asian and African Art