The complex interweaving of different Western visions of China had a profound impact on artistic exchange between China and the West during the nineteenth century.
Beyond Chinoiserie addresses the complexity of this exchange. While the playful Western “vision of Cathay” formed in the previous century continued to thrive, a more realistic vision of China was increasingly formed through travel accounts, paintings, watercolors, prints, book illustrations, and photographs. Simultaneously, the new discipline of sinology led to a deepening of the understanding of Chinese cultural history. Leading and emerging scholars in the fields of art history, literary studies and material culture, have authored the ten essays in this book, which deal with artistic relations between China and the West at a time when Western powers’ attempts to extend a sphere of influence in China led to increasingly hostile political interactions.
Ut pictura amor: The Reflexive Imagery of Love in Artistic Theory and Practice, 1500-1700 examines the related themes of lovemaking and image-making in the visual arts of Europe, China, Japan, and Persia. The term ‘reflexive’ is here used to refer to images that invite reflection not only on their form, function, and meaning, but also on their genesis and mode of production. Early modern artists often fashioned reflexive images and effigies of this kind, that appraise love by exploring the lineaments of the pictorial or sculptural image, and complementarily, appraise the pictorial or sculptural image by exploring the nature of love. Hence the book’s epigraph—
ut pictura amor—‘as is a picture, so is love’.