Painting Anime: One Hundred Horses, Period 2019/06/26 to 2019/09/25, Gallery 102


Since 2011, the National Palace Museum initiated a series of high-resolution long-scroll painting animations. Using the latest technology, several high-definition projectors seamlessly unfold sceneries from classical long scroll paintings on the wall. In an effort to render the exquisite details in the masterpiece "One Hundred Horses" by the Qing court painter Giuseppe Castiglione (also known as Lang Shining), the museum upgraded the specifications of the installation to include six seamlessly integrated high-lumen projectors, altogether creating a powerful and immersive multimedia experience.

Film Summary

Incorporating the latest animation technology, this animation film vividly presents Giuseppe Castiglione's "One Hundred Horses" while remaining faithful to the original masterpiece. The herd of horses from the painting are gorgeously rendered and shown in a variety of poses and activities, such as playfully wrestling, serenely grazing, galloping or fording a river. The storyline revolves around officers tending to the horses throughout the day, starting from the break of dawn and morning activities, to afternoon thundershower, evening dusk and returning home under a starry night. Visitors can fully experience changes around the clock and the beauty of nature as it alternates between sunshine and rain.

One Hundred Horses

Giuseppe Castiglione(1688-1766), also known by his Chinese name Lang Shining, was a Milanese and Jesuit missionary from Italy. At the age of 27, he was sent to China for missionary work and served in the Qing court with his painting expertise through three successive reigns under Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. This painting, a masterpiece representative of his early works, was completed in 1728.

This long handscroll painting depicts a scene of a herd of horses out in the pasture. The hundred steeds are shown in a variety of poses and activities as they leisurely make their way around the pastures and trees. Every detail is realistically done, and the composition is intricate and beautifully colored. Castiglione uses refined gradations of light and shadow to render an exceptionally lifelike scene. He was very good at combining traditional Chinese themes and techniques with Western pigments and their perspective methods, revealing a true meeting between East and West. The placement and depiction of the trees and landscape elements clearly reveal the deep atmospheric effect often found in Western art. Even the sizes of the horses vary with the distance and are shown in relative proportion. Furthermore, the painting method for the distant mountain rocks is distinct from that seen in traditional Chinese brushwork, with layered pigments also visible among the trees.

One Hundred Horses

One Hundred Horses Handscroll, ink and colors on silk, 94.5 x 776 cm