Masterpieces Of Chinese Painting 700-1900
26 October 2013 – 19 January 2014
Charting the history of painting in China from the eighth to the twentieth century, this exhibition features over 70 masterpieces from collections across the world.
This is an ambitious show spanning 1200 years, and features a number of incredibly rare artefacts including paintings on silk, scroll friezes and exquisite small-scale works made by monks.
It begins with paintings from the Tang dynasty, an era of relative calm and prosperity, which enabled the arts to flourish and merchants to develop overland trading routes from China to Syria and Rome. From the vigorous brushwork of court painter Wu Daozi to the naturalist idiom of Wang Wei, this marks a classical period in Chinese art.
There are some seventy masterpieces in the exhibition, revealing the immense change in style and subject matter throughout the centuries, and how each dynasty left its mark on the history of art in China.
Yuan Jiang’s lyrical landscape ‘The Palace of Nine Perfections’ is on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is made of twelve hanging scrolls, and depicts an opulent palace that was destroyed at the end of the Tang Dynasty. Painted by Yuan as an enchanted paradise, it was thought to be so large that it required travelling on horseback between its halls.
Also on show is the atmospheric ‘Nine Dragons’, a hand scroll completed in 1244 by Chen Rong that captures, in smoky brushwork, the supernatural world of the mythical Dragon.