A Special Course by Ben Wang: Two Coolest Ming Artists in Chinese Culture: Shen Zhou 沈周 & Tang Yin 唐寅

Summer 2024 Registration is Now Open!
Register by June 10 to receive $30 off tuition!

Nothing is perhaps more cool and reinvigorating to ease and dispel the sultry July and August sun than to appreciate and study the timeless works of Shen Zhou 沈周 and Tang Yin 唐寅, two of the towering artists and poets of the Ming dynasty, works that take us to the joy in a world of poetry, calligraphy, and painting, known as Literati Painting 文人畫, a special genre exclusive to the Chinese culture. And, what could be more profoundly fruitful to deepen and enrich the understanding of China’s mind and heart than through the studying of her literature and art?

Both Shen Zhou (1427-1509) and Tang Yin (1470-1524) are natives of Suzhou, arguably the most famous city in China for its natural beauty and cultural and artistic legacy. A child prodigy in literature and fine art who intrigued many old masters of his day, Shen Zhou was the founder of the historically important and artistically and poetically authoritative Suzhou School of Painting 蘇州畫派. An aficionado of poetry and art, he did not take part in any examination in pursuit of an official position working for the government. Instead, he devoted all his years and energy to poetry composition and painting.

One of Shen Zhou’s most noted students in his long and stellar career in literature and art is Tang Yin. The object of envy and hostility for his literary and artistic genius, Tang Yin fell victim to the calumny and libel of many of his contemporaries, which resulted in his failure to pass the imperial examination. In frustration and heartache, he remained in Suzhou and spent the rest of his life as a poet and painter. In the end, he and his master Shen Zhou became giants of poetry, calligraphy, and painting.

Poetic and fine artworks by both Shen Zhou and Tang Yin have been considered National Treasures by poetry and art lovers in China, and then all the art lovers in the world after the 19th century, when the literary and fine-art works began to catch the attention and passion of the intelligentsia in the world.

China Institute’s Senior Lecturer Ben Wang is offering a summer course on the selected works by the two masters. A detailed introduction and in-depth study will be the focal point of the course. This 5-session weekly course is given at China Institute, starting July 16th.
(By Ben Wang)

Tuesday, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
July 16 – August 13
5 sessions (10 hours)
$280 member / $320 non-member
(plus a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
*This class will be taught in English.


6:30 - 8:30 PM
Instructor: Ben Wang


Ben Wang

Ben Wang: Senior Lecturer in Language and Humanities at China Institute, Co-Chair of Renwen Society of China Institute, retired Instructor of Chinese at the United Nations Language Program.  A published writer on classical Chinese poetry and others, Ben Wang is an award winning translator both from Chinese into English and vice versa; He taught Chinese and translation at Columbia University, New York University, Pace University and City University of New York between 1969 and 1991.

Ben Wang teaches and lectures on the Chinese language, calligraphy, and classical Chinese literature, including the Book of Songs, the Songs of the South; Han, Tang and Song poetry; Yuan and Ming poetic dramas; Story of the Stone of the Qing; classical Kunqu Drama and Beijing Opera; Literati Painting. Ben Wang’s lectures on and translations of Kunqu dramas have been reviewed and acclaimed three times in the New York Times by the Times’ music and drama critic James Oestreich as “magnificent,” “captivating,” and “colorful.”

Since 1989, Ben Wang has lectured (extensively on the above-mentioned subjects)at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Barnard, Williams, U.C. Berkeley, New York University, Bates, Colby, Hamilton, Middlebury, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Mary’s College in California, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, United Nations, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts of Boston, ABC Nightline, the BBC, among other academic and cultural institutions.

Latest publications in English:

  1. Forlorn in the Rain: Translation and Annotation of Selected Classical Chinese Poetry and Others; Published by Foreign Languages Publishing Bureau, Beijing, China: Oct. 2018
  2. A series of 4 books on the Forbidden City in Beijing, China:
    1. We All Live in the Forbidden City
    2. This Is the Greatest Place!
    3. Bowls of Happiness
    4. What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?

    (Published by China Institute and Released by Tuttle Publishing; 2014, 2015, the series has garnered 9 US book awards, as of September 2016.)

  3. Laughter and Tears: Libretti from Highlight Scenes of 26 Classical Poetic Kunqu Dramas; Published by Foreign Languages Publishing Bureau, Beijing, China: 2009.

(January 2019)

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