The mountains - not so near, yet not so far …
17th century landscape drawings from the Netherlands and China - a comparison

23.09.2014 to 11.01.2015
Museum für Asiatische Kunst

Chinese landscapes in ink-wash, European landscapes in oil: the differences seem enormous. But though executed with a brush, Chinese ink-wash paintings are actually considered in the West to be works in the graphic medium, technically not paintings, and when compared with Western drawings, the differences do not seem so great. What lies behind the sometimes astonishing similarities, and how are the differences to be explained?

Of course, drawings and prints were part of the exchange of goods and culture between East and West. Sometimes Western artists used paper imported from East Asia and in a few Chinese works, there is a hint of European influence. But these are exceptions.

To make this transcultural comparison, it is better to ask such questions as: how do the roles played by the artist’s chosen materials, techniques and tools compare; what is the respective importance accorded to observation of nature, artistic technique, and tradition versus innovation in artistic style? The exhibition aims to free viewers from Eurocentric preconceptions as they contemplate these Chinese landscapes, allowing them to experience their subtleties more immediately and to appreciate better just how they differ from their European counterparts.

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