It has been almost a year since I last attended an exhibition, so feeling in the mood to rest my eyes on beauteous objects, I sallied forth to the National Gallery of Victoria to see the new International exhibition of Chinese Art.
The paintings and objects are on loan from the Palace Museum in Beijing. The Palace Museum is housed in the old Forbidden City, where countless dynasties of Chinese Emperors resided.
One of these was Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1736 to 1795, and it was from his period that the objects and paintings on display were drawn.
I’m very hazy as to the history of China and couldn’t tell you when any particular dynasty of Emperors ruled, so I found the Golden Age of China exhibition to be both educational and enlightening and a feast of beauty for the eyes.
There was plenty to see, the exhibition being quite extensive with paintings, jewellery, weaponry, costumes, as well as household and religious items.
Qianlong Emperor was a cultured person with an artistic bent. He was skilled in both painting and calligraphy and a noted poet. Several paintings and scrolls contained his poetic observations.
If you’re wondering at the name of Giuseppe Castiglione, he was a Jesuit Missionary with a talent for painting. He gained access to the Imperial Court and painted the royal family in an European style, that was an influence on future generations of Chinese artists.
The most resplendent items in the collections were the ceremonial robes. They were gorgeous garments with elaborate decorations – works of art in their own right.
I was arrested by the following portrait of Imperial Honourable Consort Huixian. She has a striking face and is wearing a gorgeous gown.
The above pictures were mostly scanned from the exhibition brochure or postcards I purchased at the Gallery Shop.
Unfortunately there was no postcard of a cool Steampunk barometer in the shape of a locomotive, but I’ve found a photo of it on the internet at a Decorative Arts Flickr Group.
After looking at the wonderful objects in the Golden Age of China exhibition, I moved on to view two other smaller exhibitions, one featuring the Gallery’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings and objects , titled Medieval Moderns - The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Exquisite Threads – English Embroidery 1600s-1900s.
Both exhibitions were pleasing to view and I must admit the embroidery was indeed exquisite.
The National Gallery of Victoria will be holding a major exhibition over winter featuring works of art from The Hermitage – The Legacy of Catherine the Great.
I will probably go and have a look at it some time or other when I feel like another art fix.