Dong Qichang (1555-1636) was a Chinese painter, scholar, calligrapher, and art theorist of the later period of the Ming Dynasty. As a painter, he favored expression over formal likeness. He also avoided anything that he thought to be sentimental or slick. These factors led him to create landscapes with intentionally distorted spatial features. His views on expression eventually inspired the later "individualist" painters.
He is also noted as a great scholar and a calligrapher. At age 12, he passed the prefectural civil service examination and won a vital position at the prefectural government school. However, he placed second in his first imperial service exam at seventeen because his calligraphy was terrible. After the exam, he practiced his calligraphy relentlessly and eventually attained the highest rank of imperial servant at the age of 35.
During the Cultural Revolution, Dong's tomb was vandalized and his body, dressed in official Ming court robes, was desecrated by the Red Gaurds.