Dr Stephen Whiteman: The Emperor’s Eyes: Painting and the Production of Cosmopolitan Space in the Early Qing Court


  • 5.15pm

  • Online

Chair – Chia-Ling Yang

Around the turn of the eighteenth century, a number of Qing and European painters in the court of the Kangxi emperor began to experiment with a complex mode of image-making that integrated concepts and methods from European painting with endogenous genres, styles, and techniques. Including intimate portraits, monumental landscapes, and imperial fantasies, among other compositions, a small group of works from the first decade of the new century illustrate new approaches to the construction of not only pictorial space, but also to the space of the viewer, and of the viewer themselves. Considering whether this ideal viewer may be considering “cosmopolitan” in a meaningfully transcultural way, this paper explores the nature of emperorship in the early Qing court, as well as the potential for art history to fundamentally contribute more broadly to “connected” histories of early modern China in its global contexts.