Home » Art Museums » SBMA with Terre Griley – Flowers On A River: The Art of Chinese Flower-and-Bird Painting, 1368-1911

SBMA with Terre Griley – Flowers On A River: The Art of Chinese Flower-and-Bird Painting, 1368-1911

Recently, my friend Terre Griley and I took a day trip to Santa Barbara to see Flowers On A River: The Art of Chinese Flower-and-Bird Painting, 1368-1911. If you are unfamiliar with this exhibit, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art is the only West Coast museum to be included in this landmark exhibition showcasing masterpieces of Chinese painting spanning five centuries.

According to the SBMA website, SBMA offers a reduced presentation to focus on some of the most important works in the original exhibition, featuring 21 individual works and 17 artists. One of the most important highlights is the premier showing of the 42-foot-long monochromatic handscroll painting, Flowers on a River (1697), by the eminent monk artist Zhu Da (also known as Bada Shanren, 1626–1705). The scroll, painted by Zhu Da at age 72, is a masterpiece of his life journey told through lotus flowers by the water and his final resolve through orchids, bamboo, rocks, and waterfalls in landscape. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art will be the only U.S. venue that enables visitors to view more than 90% of actual artwork.

Flower-and-bird painting is one of the three major genres of Chinese painting, alongside landscape and figure painting. The artwork is painted on either paper or silk canvases, and the brushwork is incredible.

Terre and I had a wonderful time seeing Flowers On A River: The Art of Chinese Flower-and-Bird Painting, 1368-1911. It was a rare opportunity to appreciate the beauty and diversity of Chinese flower-and-bird painting and learn about its cultural and historical context.

If you’re here in Southern California, I urge you to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to see this outstanding exhibition. The exhibit will only be on display until January 14th. For more information, please click the link here or go to sbma.net.

If you cannot visit in person, I have included a link here to a YouTube video by Chappaqua Library with Larry D’Amico. Mr. D’Amico shares his experience, knowledge, and photographs from the New York exhibit.