Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Collections from the Louvre on show at Macao museum

Posted by Kimberly on September 9, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
9 September, 2007, page 2 (626 words)

The Macao Museum will be showcasing the Chalcography collection of the Louvre Museum from today until December 2. Titled ‘From Versailles to the Forbidden City – Engravings from the Louvre’, the exhibition displays over 130 valuable engravings collected by the Louvre.
In her speech at the press conference for the exhibition’s opening, Ms Heido Ho, President of the Cultural Affairs Bureau (ICM) said that despite the distance of the two, Versailles and the Forbidden City were linked by many cultural ties, one of which was the art of the “copperplate engraving, a tradition that strengthened the relationship between the two time-honoured cultures and, in doing so, passed through the gateway of Macau.”
She added that, through the travels of the Jesuit missionaries, Macau became “a point of entry for the arrival in China of these engravings and the culture of the European Renaissance as a whole.”
cooper engraving started in Europe in the 15th century, with the exhibition highlighting such pieces as “The cabinet du Roi,” a Louis XIV collection sent by missionaries of his court to Emperor Kangxi in 1687; “The Conquests of the Emperor of China” which features a set of 16 engravings ordered by Emperor Qianlong to immortalise his conquest of the Dzungars and the Muslims.
Other notable prints include Louis XIV’s “Fêtes at Versailles”, “The Carousel of 1662” held to celebrate the birth of his son, and “the Maze at Versailles” depicting the design of the fountain at the maze garden.
In addition, said Ms Ho, “we have set up a special display featuring the complete set of 16 prints titled ‘The Conquests of the Emperor of China’,” she said, adding that the prints celebrate Chinese artistic tastes and also illustrate imperial tours of inspection in different historical eras.
“They also demonstrate the scrupulous technique of the Western engravers, who skilfully harnessed light and shade to create scenes with superb visual effects,” she said.
Mr Pascal Torres, the curator of the Chalcography department at the Louvre Museum expressed his gratitude for making the exhibition possible.
Although the collections from the famed museum enjoy “an immense reputation around the world,” he said, “the admirable collection of engravings from its Chalcography department…are less well known to the general public,” he added.
The collection of copperplates were assembled by the kings of France but later confiscated during the French Revolution and entrusted to the Louvre Museum by Napoleon the First.
When Emperor Kangxi received a set of the engravings in 1687, he was so enchanted by their delicate work that he commissioned additional copper engravings to be made in France for his court in Beijing.
“Thus, a fruitful exchange, encouraged by Kangxi and Louis the 14th, who were both patrons of the arts, literature and sciences, began to flourish between France and China,” said Mr Torres.
Such sentiments were also echoed by Ms Ho, who said, “the Sino-French cultural relationship dates back several centuries and it is hoped that the exchange we celebrate today will rekindle the enjoyment of beauty in our lives.”
she added that “Macau will continue to work tirelessly to enhance its role as a cultural platform.”
to increase understanding towards Chalcography, the Macao Museum will also organise a series of activities including lectures, workshops and a docent service during the exhibition.
The lecture, t be held on September 8, will be from 3pm to 5pm and conducted in English with Cantonese and Portuguese simultaneous interpretation.
Due to the limited number of seats, reservations are confirmed on a first-come-first-served basis.
Workshops will have a capacity of 20 students and held from September 18 at various schedules. Each workshop will be preceded by a 30-minute docent tour. Bookings by schools and associations are welcome. For enquiries, please telephone (853) 3941217 or (853) 3941231.

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