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Friday, February 09, 2007

Brother Giuseppe Castiglione, S.J.


The Qianlong Emperor and the Royal Children on New Year’s Eve (detail), 1736—37. Attributed to Giuseppe Castiglione (1688—1766).
Hanging scroll. Ink and colour on silk.
The Palace Museum, Beijing.


The Qianlong Emperor Viewing Paintings, 1746—c.1750,
By Giuseppe Castiglione (Chinese name Lang Shining, 1688—1766) and Ding Guanpeng (fl.c. 1738—1768).
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper.
The Palace Museum, Beijing.


The Pine, Hawk and Glossy Ganoderma, 1723—35,
By Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione).
Hanging scroll, colour on silk.
The Palace Museum, Beijing



The Qianlong Emperor in Ceremonial Armour on Horseback, 1739 or 1758,
By Giuseppe Castiglione (Chinese name Lang Shining, 1688—1766).
Hanging scroll, ink and colour on silk.
The Palace Museum, Beijing.1739 or 1758


An artist, perhaps, not as well known as he ought to be.

Brother Giuseppe Castiglione, S.J. (Chinese: 郎世宁; pinyin: Láng Shìníng) (July 19, 1688 – 1766) was an Italian painter, court artist and Jesuit missionary to China.

Born in Milan's San Macellino district, Castiglione studied painting in Italy with Carlo Cornara of the renowned Botteghe degli Stampator painting studio.

Castiglione entered the Society of Jesus in 1707 to become a coadjutor brother, not a priest. Trained as a portrait artist and desiring to go to China, he left Italy in 1709 but was delayed in Coimbra, Portugal, for five years.

In December 1715 he arrived in Peking (Beijing), where for the rest of his life he served K'ang-hsi (Kangxi), Yung-cheng (Yongzheng), and Ch'ien-lung (Qianlong) emperors of the Ch'ing (Qing) dynasty.

Castiglione concentrated on nature and became famous in the history of Chinese art for his remarkable style in depicting horses.

He was the principal designer and builder of the gardens in the Yuan Ming Yuan summer palace, then located on the outskirts of Peking.

While in China, Castiglione took the name Láng Shìníng (郎世宁). He died in Beijing.

Further References:

The Royal Academy of Arts, London had an exhibition on Chinese artists China and the Three Emperors: 1662-1795
Castiglione and his works received a prominent place
See: http://www.threeemperors.org.uk/index.php?pid=28

Giuseppe Castiglione (Lang Shining): One Hundred Horses (1991.134). In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/qing_1/hod_1991.134.htm (October 2006)

Four Historical Stages of the Indigenisation of Chinese Christian Art
http://www.asianchristianart.org/news/article5b.html