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Royal painter

Updated: 2021-11-01 07:44 ( China Daily )
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A detail of Portrait of Consort Chunhui, by Giuseppe Castiglione. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A first sight of Portrait of Consort Chunhui, an 18th-century oil painting, which depicts a favorite wife of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), could remind onlookers of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's world-renowned piece, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Both are portraits showing a young woman decorated in pearls-beautiful and serene.

Vermeer's work shows his concern with how to present light on different surfaces, other than his model's identity, to deliver an intimate, enigmatic feeling.

On the other hand, the consort's painting, created around 1737 by Italian missionary and court painter Giuseppe Castiglione, better known as Lang Shining in China, stands as a formal portrait to affirm the subject's noble status.

Portrait of Consort Chunhui is at the heart of Arcadia World of Emperor Qianlong, an exhibition that shows the refinement of Chinese court art in the 18th century, especially the introduction of European art and crafts and their influence on Chinese art and reflect the cultural exchanges between the two sides.

The show is being held at Poly Art Museum in Beijing through Nov 2.

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