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ref. 2007/48

Chinese Reverse Painting on Glass

“Court scene”

China

Late 19th Century

Height : 52 cm (20 1/2 in.) ; Width : 70 cm (27 1/2 in.)

A very fine polychrome chinese reverse painting on glass with its original frame, representing a genre scene on a luxurious Chinese palace terrace, with a lady from the imperial court receiving a dignitary.

Commentary

The technique of painting under glass was known since classical times. Forgotten for centuries, it was rediscovered in about 1750 and had a golden age between 1800 and 1850. The technique was redeveloped principally in central Europe around the Glassworks of Bohemia, but also in France, England, Holland and Germany and still persevered in Venice. It eventually spread along the routes of European conquest as much in the Americas in one direction as in India and China in the other.

If the European taste for « Chinoiseries » inspired 18th Century missionaries to teach the Chinese the technique of painting under glass in a typically European style and with European subjects ; very soon native themes began to appear, relating as in this case, everyday life at the China imperial court.

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