BBC Four has produced a series of three documentaries about the chinese art history.

Part 1: Origins


See full video in english:

Part 3: East meets West

100 horses by Giuseppe Castiglione

Giuseppe Castiglione came in the 18th century as a missionary, was a confidant of Emperor Qianlong and made the western painting in China known. In his own work he combined Chinese tradition with European elements such as the central perspective or realistic treatment of light and shadow and so opened the Chinese art new forms of expression.

Qianlong pallace was influenced by european architecture. It was destroyed during the Opium wars.

The 19th century was marked by political setbacks, lost two opium wars against Britain and massive social tensions to which also reacted art: one oriented to Delacroix painting by Xu Beihong, who studied art in the early 20th century in Paris, shows one of the numerous abortive uprisings

Influence of historic avantgardes

Lin Fengmian influenced by Matisse and Cézanne.

Xu Beihong Galloping Horse.

Socialist Realism (1950-1976)

With the victory of Mao Zedong’s Socialist Realism in 1950 began in Chinese art. From then on she had to serve the policy in the pictures also mountains and rivers were as red as Mao’s Bible. But it also began a period in which many older paintings and writings were destroyed, the cultural past mattered anymore.

Opening to contemporary art (1980s-now)

Deng Xiaoping wearing a cowboy hat.

In the 80s, then came in Beijing in the abandoned factory premises of the so-called “798 Art Zonea new heart of the avant-garde art in China. One of their stars: Xu Bing and his monumental installation “Book from the Sky(1987-1991), with whom he became world famous. The works of the successful in the west Ai Weiwei shown and their works to conquer by younger artists who rise to the world market.

Ai Wei Wei.

Cai Guo-Qiang

Chinese contemporary artist Xu Bing. cigarette tiger skin rug is the third in Xu Bing’s series called the Tobacco Project

Further reading: BBC Four article.


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