Giuseppe Castiglione (Jesuit)

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For the 19th-century painter and others with same name, see Giuseppe Castiglione (disambiguation).
Brother
Giuseppe Castiglione
Old Summer palace museum giuseppe castiglione.jpg
Linear perspective painting by Castiglione. (The Old Summer Palace museum collection)
Born (1688-07-19)19 July 1688
Milan, Italy
Died 17 July 1766(1766-07-17) (aged 77)
Beijing, China
Nationality Italian
Known for Painting and architecture

Giuseppe Castiglione, S.J. (simplified Chinese: 郎世宁; traditional Chinese: 郎世寧; pinyin: Lángshìníng) (19 July 1688 – 17 July 17 1766), was an Italian Jesuit lay brother and a missionary in China, where he served as an artist at the imperial court of three emperors – the Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors.

Early life[edit]

Castiglione was born in Milan's San Marcellino district in 19 July 1688.[1] He was educated privately at home with a private tutor. He also learned painting under the guidance of a master. In 1707, he entered the Society of Jesus in Genoa aged 19.[1] Although a Jesuit, he was never a priest. Rather, he was a lay brother.

Works[edit]

One of the earliest known painting by Castiglione in China in a blend of Chinese and Western styles, 1723

Paintings[edit]

In the late 17th century, a number of European Jesuit painters served in the Qing court of the Kangxi Emperor who was interested in employing European Jesuits trained in various fields, including painting. In the early 18th century, the Jesuits in China made a request for a painter to be sent to the imperial court in Beijing. Castiglione was identified as a promising candidate and he accepted the post.[2] In 1710 on the way to Lisbon he passed through Coimbra where he stayed for several years to decorate the chapel of St. Francis Borgia in the Church of the novitiate, today the New Cathedral of Coimbra, and painted a Circumcision of Jesus for the main altar of the same church.[3]

In 1715, Castiglione arrived in China, and stayed at a Jesuit church called St Joseph Mission or Eastern Hall (Dong Tang) in Chinese.[4] He was presented to the Kangxi Emperor who viewed his painting of a dog, another source said also a bird painted on the spot on Kangxi's request.[2] He was assigned a few disciples, however he initially placed to work as an artisan in the palace enameling workshop.[5]

While in China, Castiglione took the name Lang Shining (郎世寧). Castiglione adapted his Western painting style to Chinese themes and taste. His earliest surviving painting created in such style was from the first year of Yongzheng's reign in 1723.[4] Although Castaglione was favoured by Yongzheng who commissioned a number of works by him, Yongzheng's reign was a difficult period for Jesuits as Christianity was suppressed and those missionaries not working for the emperor were expelled.[6]

His skill as an artist was appreciated by the Qianlong Emperor, and Castiglione served the Emperor for three decades and was granted increasingly higher official rank within the Qing court.[1] He spent many years in the court painting various subjects, including the portraits of the emperor and empress. Qianlong showed particularly interest in paintings of tribute horses presented to Emperor on which Castiglione painted a series.[6] In 1765, Castiglione and other Jesuit painters also created a series of "Battle Copper Prints" commissioned by the Emperor to commemorate his military campaigns. Small-scale copies of his paintings were shipped to Paris and rendered into engravings with etching before being returned to China. A series of sixteen prints by Castiglione (who contributed two) and his contemporaries Jean-Denis Attiret, Ignatius Sichelbart and Jean-Damascène Sallusti were created in this way.[7]

Architecture[edit]

In addition to his skill as a painter, he was also in charge of designing the Western-Style Palaces in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace.

Castiglione died in Beijing in 17 July 1766.

Style and techniques[edit]

Castiglione's style was a unique blend of European and Chinese compositional sensibility, technique and themes. Western style was adjusted to suit Chinese taste; for example, strong shadows used in chiaroscuro techniques were unacceptable in portraiture as the Qianlong Emperor thought that shadows looked like dirt, therefore when Castiglione painted the Emperor, the intensity of the light was reduced so that there was no shadow on the face, and the features were distinct.[8] Emperors also preferred to have their portraits painted full face with a frontal posture, the royal portraits are therefore usually painted in such a manner.[9]

The paintings were done on silk, and unlike Western painting where mistake can be reworked, brushwork on silk is almost impossible to be removed, therefore requires careful and precise painting. The painting needed to be worked out in detail beforehand, which Castiglione did in a preparatory drawing on paper before he traced the design onto silk.[5] An example is the most important early work by Castiglione, "One Hundred Horses in a Landscape", for which the preparatory drawings survive.[10] It was painted in 1728 for the Yongzheng emperor. Some of the horses are in a 'flying gallop' pose, which had not been done before by European painters.[6] The painting was executed using tempera on silk in the form of a Chinese handscroll of nearly eight meters in length. It was largely done in a European-style in accordance with the rules of perspective, and with a consistent light source. However, the dramatic chiaroscuro shading typical of Baroque paintings is reduced and there are only traces of shadow under the hooves of the horses.[5]

One Hundred Horses in a Landscape

Legacy[edit]

Due to Castiglione's work Qing court paintings began to show a clear Western influence. Other European painters followed and a new school of painting was created that combined Chinese and Western methods. The influence of Western art on the Qing court paintings is particularly evident in the light, shade, perspective, as well as the priority given to recording contemporary events.[8]

In 2005, Castiglione became the subject of the television series Palace Artist in China, played by famed Canadian-Chinese actor Dashan (Mark Rowswell), and broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV).

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Musillo, Marco (2008). "Reconciling Two Careers: the Jesuit Memoir of Giuseppe Castiglione Lay Brother and Qing Imperial Painter". Eighteenth-Century Studies 42 (no. 1): 45–59. 
  2. ^ a b Marco Musillo (2011). "Mid-Qing Arts and Jesuit Visions: Encounters and Exchanges in Eighteenth-Century Beijing". In Susan Delson. Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals. Prestel Publishing. pp. 146–161. 
  3. ^ http://www.monumentos.pt/Site/APP_PagesUser/SIPA.aspx?id=2809
  4. ^ a b Hui Zou (30 April 2011). A Jesuit Garden in Beijing and Early Modern Chinese Culture. Purdue University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-1557535832. 
  5. ^ a b c "Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766)". Media Center for Art History, University of Columbia. 
  6. ^ a b c Lauren Arnold (April 2003). "Of the Mind and the Eye: Jesuit Artists in the Forbidden City in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" (PDF). Pacific Rim Report 27. 
  7. ^ Castiglione, Giuseppe; Le Bas, Jacques-Philippe (1765). "Storming the Encampment at Gadan-Ola". World Digital Library (in French). Xinjiang, China. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Yang Xin; Rihard M. Barnhart; Nie Chongzheng; James Cahill; Lang Shaojun; Wu Hung. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Paintings. Yale University Press. pp. 282–285. ISBN 978-0-300-07013-2. 
  9. ^ Hui Zou (30 April 2011). A Jesuit Garden in Beijing and Early Modern Chinese Culture. Purdue University Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-1557535832. 
  10. ^ "One Hundred Horses". The Met. 
  11. ^ Fred S. Kleiner. Gardner's Art through the Ages: Backpack Edition, Book F: Non-Western Art Since 1300. Wadsworth Publishing. p. 1060. ISBN 978-1285838151. 

External links[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

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