V&A London | Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900

26 October 2013 – 19 January 2014


Nine Dragons by Chen Rong | Section: Quest for Reality: 950-1250
Considered to be the oldest and finest dragon scroll

The V&A’s autumn exhibition, Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900, will be the most ambitious survey of one of the world’s greatest artistic traditions. It will gather together the finest examples of Chinese painting created over a 1200 year period and will show more than 70 works including some of the earliest surviving Chinese paintings as well as other exceptionally rare works loaned from the greatest international collections. From small scale intimate works by monks and literati to a 14 metre-long scroll painting, many of the paintings will be shown in Europe for the first time.

This will be a once in a lifetime chance to see the greatest masterpieces of chinese art together in the UK for the very first time, and also understand how these works were created.

The exhibition which has been just over two years in the making, will be organised chronologically and thematically in six successive periods to chart the evolving styles and subject of painting. These being:

  • 700-950 | Object of Devotion | The exhibition will begin by exploring paintings made for tombs and temples
  • 950-1250 | Quest for Reality | This next section will look at the growing enthusiasm for the natural world and the rise of landscape painting
  • 1250-1400 | Embracing Solitude | This section will reveal the most striking innovations which came from small groups of monks and scholars who were equally skilled in painting, calligraphy and poetry and encapsulated all within their works. These artists did not depend for their livelihood on commissions for palaces and official buildings but instead painted for private display
  • 1400-1600 | Pursuit of Happiness |Here it will explore the artistic explosion driven by the political stability and economic prosperity of the Ming dynasty
  • 1600-1900  | Challenging the Past |This will explore an age of artistic rivalry showing how painters competed with both their contemporaries and their predecessors
  • 1600-1900 | Looking to the West|  This final section will examine the impact of the introduction of European painting to China. During the 18th and 19th centuries, when the country was ruled by the Qing, Western art became an increasingly significant artistic force
A Monkey by Mao Song | Section: Quest for Reality: 950-1250
The eyes of the monkey were painted in gold, so in candlelight the eyes sparkle, realism was obtained for the artist
  • The V&A is open daily from 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 every Friday
  • Tickets £12 (concessions available). For advance bookings visit http://www.vam.ac.uk 
(booking fee applies) or call 020 7420 9736
  • Hongxing Zhang, is senior curator for the V&A’s Chinese collections and lead curator of this exhibition
  • The exhibition designers are Stanton Williams
www.vam.ac.uk/chinesepainting | #ChinesePainting

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