CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Transmission will Surface Later, or Beyond: Adoptions in East-Asian Painting Practices and in Western Art History

Session 13 Transmission and Adoption




My project compares and links two streams of painting productions that traversed China between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century: the Qing patronage of European artists and the Cantonese market of European-style painting for export. In particular, the paper discusses two contexts: on one side, the artistic adaptation of Italian painters such as Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766)—known in Chinese as Langshining—receiving commissions by the mid-Qing Emperors; on the other, the work of Chinese painters such as Spolium (active between 1785 and 1810) and Lamqua (Guan Qiaochang, active between 1830-1850) producing pictures for the European market. The paper’s main aim is to discuss transmission and adoption through a new consideration not only of artistic guidelines (the rules of optical perspective or the philosophy of ink painting), and of institutional entities (the merchant companies and the Qing household), but also an exploration of procedures for experimentations, practical working routines, and artistic identities. At present, the dialogues surfacing from such intertwined histories have not received enough scholarly attention, especially in regards to transcultural engagements from an East-Asian perspective. The final goal of the paper is to discuss and questioning the conceptual roots of the language that we employ in historiographical narratives.




 Marco Musillo holds a doctoral degree from the School of Art History and World Art Studies at the University of East Anglia. Currently he is at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence with a research on global forms of pictorial perspective between early-modern Europe and China. Recently a Getty Research Institute scholar with a research on material exchanges between China and Colonial America, he has held a fellowships on Chinese art from the Ricci Institute at the University of San Francisco. Musillo specializes in early modern Chinese and European painting as well as early modern diplomacy and material culture, and historiography of art. He is the author of The Shining Inheritance: Italian Artists at the Qing Court, 1699–1812 recently published by the Getty Research Publications; and the essay “The Qing Patronage of Milanese Art: a Reconsideration on Materiality and Western Art History”, in Portrayals from a Brush Divine: A Special Exhibition on the Tricentennial of Giuseppe Castiglione’s Arrival in China, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2015, 310-323.