Three Perfections
Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting in Chinese Art 三绝:詩书画

Free entry

NGV International

Level 1 Mezzanine

6 Dec 13 – 9 Jun 14

Three Perfections explores the interconnections between poetry, calligraphy and painting. In traditional China, scholars and scholar-officials were cultivated in these arts as vehicles of self-expression. Painting was regarded as ‘silent poetry’ and poetry ‘painting with sound’. Scholars trained in the ‘art of handwriting’ or calligraphy at an early age used calligraphic brushstrokes in their paintings.

This exhibition consists of paintings and calligraphy from the Asian Collection. Works dating from the fourteenth century to the present will show the uniqueness of Chinese art and the contrast between traditional and contemporary art in the continuity of a living tradition.

The newly-ripe cherries scatter like coins of elm seeds.
It is also April in Yangzhou.
Last night red orchids in the thatched hut burst into blossom.
Worrying about the wind and rain [that might ruin the blossoms], unable to sleep.

Huang Shen
Chinese 1687–1768
Red Orchid from the Birds and flowers album (mid 18th century)

Key Works