Building 2 Courtyard No. 8 Xinyuan South Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100027 +86 10 8555 8555
The Palace Museum guards an exquisite painting, a rich profusion of grace and refinement. A “letter of peace from the Spring”, which has two protagonists, an old man and a young man, dressed in sophisticated garb with wide sleeves, portrayed in an idyllic setting, lined with green bamboo and stones, as they hold the purest plum flower between them. It is a scene that transmits peace and joy. Two people of refined and noble stature and it’s not surprising - it is a portrait of Emperor Yongzheng and his fourth son, the young Hongli. The future Emperor Qianlong. Besides the incredible atmosphere of peace in the scene, there is another detail that draws our attention - the three-dimensional effect of the objects, the stones, the lines of the faces, all portrayed with subtle shades of color. The details of the expressions and the lineaments make this work unique, compared with more traditional Chinese techniques in line with oriental painting, this is more akin to European sensibilities. Despite the lack of a signature or seal, it is certainly a masterpiece by Lang Shining. Also known as Giuseppe Castiglione, an Italian Jesuit missionary, artist and painter to the Court of the Qing Dynasty. He was so appreciated that he served three Emperors, Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong, to whom he was tied through mutual friendship and great admiration. A painting that embodies perfect harmony between men, nature and culture.