CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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



Session 15 Creative Misunderstanding

College of Fine Arts, Capital Normal University


Since the Chinoiserie arose in Europe in 17th and 18th century, more and more European artists began to admire Chinese art and culture, they paid attention to the Chinese social landscape,and make art creation on Chinese subject, especially the British artists made great contribution to it. At the end of the 18th century, William Alexander(1767—1816) who was the first British artist to enter Chinese mainland made lots of paintings on Chinese subject. Half a century later, another British artist Thomas Allom(1804—1872) also depicted Chinese image in some different aspects, including city views and social custom etc. Thomas Allom had never been to China, but he referred to the works of John Nieuhoff(1618-1672), William Alexander and Auguste Borget(1808–1877) etc., and borrowed images from them, and Allom made re-creation with imagination. Thus his paintings are some kind of combination of authentic image and subjective imagination, and there reveal some of Allom’s misunderstanding about the Chinese culture. 

The paintings look more exquisite and richer in details after Allom’s re-creation, and they look much more vivid and lively after being added some Chinese figures. But Allom didn’t know well about Chinese culture, usually putting the Chinese cultural elements such as Chinese mountains and rocks, river and lake, pagoda, Chinese pavilion and Chinese figures together, thus there are inevitably some kind of inappropriateness.

However, the image of China created by Allom spread widely in Britain and even Europe without much hindrance. And his works not only increased European’s knowledge about Chinese social view, stimulated spreading the image of China, but also had unique artistic and cultural value.


Post Doctor, Art history Department, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University(2013-2015)


Ph.D.(Doctor of Philosophy),Art History,Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University(2010-2013)


Current positionPost Doctor of Art history Department, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University


Research field: world art history, art exchanges between the East and the West




ChenLu, The Reference of English Bone china to Chinese Garden Landscape Pattern, Art & Design, 2015(04).

ChenLu, The Image of Qing Dynasty in ancient China Depicted by Thomas Allom, Fine Arts & Design, 2015(02).

ChenLu, The Image of China Depicted by William Alexander, Hundred Schools in Arts, 2014(02).

ChenLu, the Visual Image of the Late Period of the Qianlong Emperor: Review on "1793: the Qianlong Period Depicted by the Artist of British Embassy", Art & Design Research, 2013(04).

ChenLu, Cultural Significance of "Orientalism" Ascribed to Edward Said, Hundred Schools in Arts, 2012(02).

ChenLu, The Theological Aesthetic Controversy on Icon in Christianity and its Influence on Icon-Making, Fine Arts & Design, 2012(01).

ChenLu, The Comparison of Spatial Awareness in the Landscape Paintings between China and the West, Art & Design Research, 2009(12).

ChenLu, The Aesthetic Thoughts in "the Painter of Modern Life" by Charles Baudelaire, Art of Design, 2008(03).