Giuseppe Castiglione’s Chinese Paintings

Giuseppe Castiglione’s painting of peonies. (Image:  wikimedia /  CC0 1.0)
Giuseppe Castiglione’s painting of peonies. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Giuseppe Castiglione (July 19, 1688-July 17, 1766) was an Italian Jesuit Brother, a missionary in China, and a painter at the Royal Court of the emperor, having a marked influence on Chinese painting.

In 1715, Castiglione went to China as a missionary. While in China, Castiglione took the name Lang Shining (郎世寧). His skill as an artist was appreciated by Emperor Qianlong, and Castiglione spent many years in the court painting various subjects, including portraits of the emperor, empress, and imperial concubines.

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Eight Steeds (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

 

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Assembled Auspiciousness (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

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Emperor Qianlong in Court Dress (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

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Imperial Noble Consort Chunhui in Court Dress (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

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Spring’s Peaceful Message (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

He was also involved in designing a Western-style imperial garden for the Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan), which served several Chinese emperors. It was later destroyed in a fire in 1860 during the Second Opium War.

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Haiyan Hall

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Wanhua Zhen: 10,000-flower maze

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Xieqiqu: Fountain

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Dashuifa: Waterworks

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Fangwaiguan: Concubine’s mansion

There are 12 panels that describe how Emperor Yongzheng and his children enjoyed their happy times at Yuanmingyuan. The ginger-yellow frames were a way to manifest and express the concept of “Everywhere is the emperor’s territory.”

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January

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February

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August

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September

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October

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November

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December

Castiglione’s paintings influenced Qing court painters and a new style of painting evolved that combined both Chinese painting and Western painting methods.

Castiglione spent over 50 years painting life in China under three Qing Dynasty emperors: Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. This prominent Jesuit artist, architect, and missionary died in Beijing.

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