Week 3

I chose exploration pack 2, it talks about Giuseppe Castiglione, who was an Italian Jesuit brother and missionary in China who worked as an artist at the imperial courts of three Qing emperors: Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. He painted in a style that combined European and Chinese influences. Most people from the west do not know who he was; it states that the only way you would know him is “…Chinese citizen with an elementary knowledge of painting, both of these names would invoke the greatest affinity and respect.” In previous classes, we discussed Matteo Ricci, another Jesuit missionary who never attempted to convert the Chinese using a religious text. Instead, he engaged in Chinese culture and offered his services to the palace, as generations of Jesuit missionaries before he had done. Castiglione would accept the challenge, learn Chinese, and adopt Lang Shining. His new painting style(Xianfa style, aka line method) caught the attention of Emperor Kangxi. His success was mainly with his grandson Qianlong, who loved him as his family member. It states that “The Qianlong Emperor protected and championed Castiglione during a time when it was becoming increasingly dangerous to be a Christian in China, due to the disruptive rites controversy. Under Qianlong, in 1736 Castiglione was elevated to be the official court painter. In 1748 to administrator of the imperial parks and vice-president of the six boards, the highest rank ever attained by a Jesuit. It was clear that the Emperor recognized the power of this higher mode of artistic expression.” Giuseppe Castiglione did something that no other Jesuit had done before: becoming an official. As you see, it is a start for China, which is becoming more accepting of other cultures; Castiglione was not forced to where the Ming queue or do anything against his beliefs. This proves that China is starting to show signs of modernization because they are becoming more open to western ideas. 


Potrait of Giuseppe Castiglione






One response to “Week 3”

  1. Dylan A Blanco Avatar
    Dylan A Blanco

    I really enjoyed the idea of outsiders having a major effect on China at the rime of their visit, and the information was well thought out and detailed. The interest in each others cultures was also intriguing as I thought they wouldn’t get along as much.

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