China has a long history of painting and calligraphy, leaving us a large number of invaluable works that make precious contributions to the spiritual wealth of the Chinese nation. The Qing court paintings featured rich content and unique artistic styles, which embodied the official aesthetic values represented by the Qing Dynasty’s royal family and penned a splendid page in the development history of Chinese painting.
The peak development period of Qing court paintings was during the reigns of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors. With strong support from the state, institutions creating court paintings were well-developed and gathered a large number of painters, including a number of Europeans. These Western artists introduced focal perspective into the creation of court paintings, integrating their techniques with traditional Chinese artistic skills and forming well-structured, exquisite and magnificent works.
The exhibition “Regality and Magnificence: Qing Dynasty Court Paintings from the National Museum of China Collection” jointly held by the NMC and Shenzhen Museum is aimed to deeply explore the collection resources of the NMC, display the outstanding artistic achievements in ancient Chinese calligraphy and painting and reveal the important role of artistic works in leading historical trends.
A total of 27 paintings and calligraphy works collected at the NMC are exhibited, covering works by royal family members, court painters and civilian court officials skilled at painting. The exhibition is divided into three parts to present a comprehensive view of court paintings at that time. On the one hand, Qing court paintings involved a wide range of subjects, with a particular focus on documenting major historical events and figures; on the other hand, they presented a perfect combination of Chinese and Western artistic skills. In addition, works by emperors and royal family members during the reigns of the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors are also displayed, as well as works by scholar-painters and civilian court officials including Wang Yuanqi, Jiang Tingxi, Dong Bangda and QianWeicheng.These works reveal the keen awareness of these Qing court artists of the importance of inheriting and continuing the traditions of Chinese literati in poetry, calligraphy and painting.
In the future, the NMC will continue to leverage its rich collection resources to strengthen cooperation with museums both at home and abroad, explore the establishment of long-term cooperation mechanisms on an equal, mutually beneficial and win-win basis and continue to follow the principle of “putting exhibitions before collections and seeking mutual benefit through open cooperation.” The NMC strives to promote the normalization and institutionalization of regular loan exhibitions and touring exhibitions, allowing more people to benefit from these vital resources. It also aims to make new contributions to promoting the creative transformation and innovative development of fine traditional Chinese culture and developing a strong socialist culture in China.