2017 - 2018
This exhibition was the first in Europe to explicitly focus on Chinese portrait painting. Portrait painting has a history of over 2,000 years in China. In the period from 1600 to 1900 it experienced a heyday, stimulated by the arrival of Italian Jesuit painters around 1600, bringing with them European portrait-painting techniques. The exhibition presented an unparalleled selection of over 100 portraits from the collections of various German museums, the Palace Museum in Beijing, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, spanning 500 years and focusing in particular on the Qing dynasty. During this period, portraiture reached a previously unknown level of variety, encompassing formal court and ancestor portraits, military portraits, and informal portraits of artists, officials, and talented women.