Emperor Qianlong by Giuseppe Castiglione

Emperor Qianlong by Giuseppe Castiglione

A friend of mine just introduced me to these extraordinary paintings, by the Jesuit painter Giuseppe Castiglione, working in the Chinese court of Emperor Qianlong. Castiglione combines Chinese artistic tradition with European techniques, creating hybrid images that transcend cultural boundaries. With their flat, graphic areas, and Asian themes, they are firmly in the Chinese taste, although they use three dimensional modelling more in keeping with Western tradition. The resultant paintings look incredibly modern, and it seems almost unbelievable that they were painted in the first half of the eighteenth century.

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