Fenwick Memorial Lecture: A Ming Dynasty Masterpiece Revealed

Kathleen M. Fenwick Memorial Lecture 2019
Qiu Ying’s The Emperor Guangwu Fording a River: A Ming Dynasty Masterpiece Revealed

The Ming dynasty painter Qiu Ying (c. 1494– c. 1552) emerged from obscurity to become one of the most famous artists in Chinese history. The National Gallery of Canada’s painting, The Emperor Guangwu Fording a River, is one of Qiu Ying’s finest surviving works.

A superb example of the “blue-and-green” landscape style for which Qiu Ying was widely known, this painting depicts an episode from the life of the Han dynasty Emperor Guangwu (r. 25–57 CE) who was widely admired for reuniting the Han empire after a dangerous but failed rebellion. The “blue-and-green” style enjoyed a long tradition from the Tang dynasty (618–906) onward, and was one of many styles mastered by Qiu Ying early in his career.

This lecture will explore the ways in which Qiu Ying, a professional artist, created paintings based on a wide range of literary subjects, and will reveal the painting’s political dimensions as an auspicious image of dynastic revival, and its relevance – in Qiu Ying’s time – as an image of a virtuous sage-emperor.

In English with simultaneous French interpretation.

Free admission. Seats in the Lecture Hall will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

About Stephen Little

An authority on Asian art, Stephen Little joined the LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2011. Dr Little has held several prestigious positions across the US, most recently as the Pritzker Curator of Asian Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (1995–2002) and the Director of the Honolulu Academy of Arts (1989–1994).

His research interests include Chinese and Japanese painting, Chinese, Korean and Japanese calligraphy, Chinese ceramics and European Old Master paintings. He is currently preparing major exhibitions on the history of Korean calligraphy (2019) and the Ming dynasty painter Qiu Ying (2020).

Start Date:

March 14, 2019 6:00 pm

End Date:


National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive


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