Durham University

Department of History

Events and Seminars


Upcoming events

Thinking East Asia (TEA) seminar series

20th June 2019, 17:00, Seminar Room 1, History Department, 43 North Bailey, Professor Shane McCausland

To be given by: Professor Shane McCausland, Percival David Professor of the History of Art, Head of School, School of Arts, SOAS

Title: ‘How More is More: Scroll art and the politics of scale at the court of Qing (1644-1911) China’


In Western colonialist thinking, the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a time of Baroque influence on the arts of the Orient, as faster, wider and deeper global connections were forged through trade with and religious missions to empires like the Manchu Qing (1644-1911), China’s last dynastic formation. As a result, attention has been skewed toward how much landscape painting in China was influenced by characteristics of Baroque art of the Italian variety, like its rigid formulation of projective spatial depth, with ground-plane recession towards high horizons in panoptic views—iconological effects of the kind Panofsky dubbed ‘symbolic form’ in Renaissance art. More subtle and complex, though still in thrall to this asymmetrical model of cross-cultural influence, are the ways that European formats, such as the ‘landscape’ picture shape, may have distorted Chinese framing effects and handling and viewing patterns encoded into the scroll and other painting formats. Part of a larger study on the visual culture of the picture-scroll in dynastic China, this presentation investigates how artists in China reacted to, appropriated and/or domesticated Baroque visual practices espoused by the Qing imperium.

Contact history.reception@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.


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