The year 2015 marks the ninetieth anniversary of the National Palace Museum’s beginnings, in celebration of which the Museum is holding several important exhibitions. Among them, the most significant and anticipated is the October opening of “Portrayals from a Brush Divine: A Special Exhibition on the Tricentennial of Giuseppe Castiglione’s Arrival in China,” presenting works and materials on this Italian artist at the Qing court and representing a grand culmination of the Museum’s cooperation with the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Pio Istituto Martinez House for Elders in Genoa to present important loan objects from these institutions. Later in the year is another milestone in the history of the National Palace Museum, the grand opening of the “Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum: Asian Arts and Culture Museum” with eight special exhibitions on the ceramics, textiles, tea culture, jades, and Buddhist art of Asia. In conjunction with these two major events, the National Palace Museum is holding a colloquium at the Wenhuitang Auditorium at the Museum scheduled for October 28 to 30, 2015. Centered on the theme of “Stimulation and Reanimation: Cultural and Artistic Exchanges between Asia and Europe,” the symposium deals with exchanges and transformations engendered by the interaction between Asian and European art and culture since the sixteenth century, the contents including Giuseppe Castiglione and related topics, artistic and cultural exchange between China and Europe, and the artistic and cultural exchange between various regions in Asia and Europe.
The proceedings are divided into three parts, the first being on Giuseppe Castiglione and related issues. Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), known in China by his Chinese name Lang Shining, was an artist and a member of the Jesuit society sent to China to serve at the court. Ordered to work as a painter, he quickly learned Chinese techniques of brush and ink, which he integrated with the methods of realism in Western perspective and chiaroscuro, creating a new syncretic style of Sino- Western art that serves as ideal testimony to the meeting of Chinese and European painting in the eighteenth century and provides modern scholars with visual clues to understanding this artistic and cultural fusion. The second takes China as its starting point to observe how the country interacted with the art and culture of Europe, while the third deals with art and cultural exchange between Europe and various places in Asia. The contents relate to the opening of the National Palace Museum’s southern branch, the core collection of which is based on the Museum’s holdings. The object of attention among museums around the world, it takes a macrocosmic view towards interpreting the exchange between various cultures in Asia, thereby increasing our awareness of the richness and diversity of Asian art and culture. It is hoped that these three facets will help to explore the vicissitudes and developments in Asian and European culture through the presentations and discussions, sparking new interest and deepening our understanding, the catalysts for growth and maturation in culture.