Catalogue for the exhibition held at the Guimet Museum in Paris from the 24th of April to the 4th of September 2006, showing, for the first time, an exceptional collection of painted scrolls.
The collection of Chinese paintings in the Musée Guimet houses an exceptional set of scrolls, imperial commissions that were destined to celebrate the important events of the reigns of the three great Qing emperors – Kangxi (1662-1723), Yongzheng (1723-1736) and Qianlong (1736-1795). The originality of this exhibition catalogue is that it intends to situate these imperial commissions in the wider context of the history of Chinese painting and other decorative arts that inherited the pictorial tradition. As such, nine painting scrolls from Musée Guimet are exhibited along with more than a hundred Ming and Qing dynasty artworks, including monochrome scrolls and album sheets, fans, prints, porcelain, imperial seal albums, as well as books relating to issues of perspective. Among the imperial scrolls, the readers will find a brightly painted artwork, in which the picturesque details abound. Building on a deep Chinese tradition, this painting exerted a strong attraction on Western artists in this period, which were called to collaborate on several imperial orders, such as the Jesuit painter Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766). Testimonies of his work with Chinese artists serve as a point of reference for the comparison between the two fascinating painting traditions, the Chinese and European.
Published by Réunion des Museés Nationaux, France, 2006
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