Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Giuseppe Castiglione - July 19, 1688 – July 17, 1766 -  was an Italian  Jesuit Brother, missionary in China, painter  at the court of the Emperor.

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 the Emperor Qianlong  and Castiglione spent many years in the court painting various subjects, including the portraits of the Emperor and Empress.

Castiglione's style was a unique blend of European sensibility with Chinese technique and themes. The style was however modified according to Chinese taste - strong shadows used in chiaroscuro  techniques were unacceptable as Emperor Qianlong thought that shadows looked like dirt, therefore when Castiglione painted the emperor, the intensity of the light was reduced so that there was no shadow on the face, and the features were distinct.

In addition to his demonstrable skill as a painter, he was also in charge of designing the Western - Style Palaces in the imperial gardens of the Old Summer Palace . This prominent Jesuit artist, architect, and missionary died in Beijing .

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