The Emperor’s Private Paradise
February 1- May 1 2011
When seemingly diverse events come together and form a connection in my mind, it’s time to write a blog. The current show: The Emperor’s Private Paradise at the Met and Jennifer Steinkamp’s video installation, Madame Curie have something in common, but we will get to that later.
cups of wine floating down the river as poems were written.
Sebastian Smee, The Boston Globe
a circular path deviates from the usual Chinese convention of straight pathways.
The Emperor was interested in manipulating art. He kept a Jesuit missionary, Giuseppe Castiglione as his sidekick and adviser on what was happening in the arts on the other side of the globe. The extensive use of trompe l’oeil painting is only one indication of the Emperor utilizing art to create image and persona.
Walking through the rockeries,
a series of caves, sitting areas and grottos created by the Qianlong Emperor.
On Sunday, Nancy Berliner, organizer of the show at the Met, gave us a virtual tour of the garden. Among the 27 buildings in the garden, a pavilion created to honor an ancient Catalpa tree. Another viewing pavilion, contains a mural of perpetual Spring, just in case Mother Nature displeased the Emperor. He didn’t need a weatherman to tell him which way the wind was blowing; he created his own reality.
P.S. It’s weird. The day-long Qianlong lectures at the Met were introduced by the Director of the Museum, Thomas Campbell. He has launched a new series called Connections. Curators pick a topic, like Motherhood, choose pictures or sculptures in the museum that have to do with that theme and talk about it (on screen) in a very personal way. It’s not art history speak, it’s more like facebook chatter. This venerable institution, like the rest of us, seems desperate to make CONNECTIONS.