About the book
One of the most important challenges facing art historians and museum professionals today is that graduate schools have produced art historians with serious weakness, particularly a lack of direct firsthand experience with works of art in the original. If we base our construction of art history on works of calligraphy and painting and on the inscriptions, colophons, and seal impressions that accompany them, we must first make sure of their authorship and identity. The aims of this volume are to reflect on the fundamental issues in the theory and practice of connoisseurship of Chinese painting in particular and those of connoisseurship of art in general.
“This fascinating book, the first one in which connoisseurship in Chinese painting and in European painting are discussed together, enables us not only to confront several approaches in the authentication of Chinese painting, but also to benefit from the Western art studies in connoisseurial analysis and the complex nature of copywork.”
—Michèle Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens, formerly Curator of Far Eastern Art of the Musée Guimet, Paris, currently Directeur d’études, École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris, author of La Civilisation du Royaume de Dian à l'époque Han, La Chine des Han:histoire et civilization, Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766): Peintre et Architecte à la Cour de Chine, and editor of Storia Universale dell'Arte : La Cina.
“These thoughtful essays, addressing a range of historical, cultural, and philosophical issues, should remind all of us that the objectness of objects is the starting point from which all else follows.”
—Peter Sturman, Chair, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Mi Fu: Style and the Art of Calligraphy in Northern Song China.
“Connoisseurship is the most fundamental yet often overlooked aspect of art history: it has the ability to affirm or completely change our understanding of an art work, the artist’s oeuvre, or even art history itself. This volume is the first extensive investigation of Chinese connoisseurship as a general and theoretical discipline.”
—Pauline Lin, Bryn Mawr College, has published articles in The Review of Politics and Dictionary of Literary Biography: Classical Chinese Writers and is working on a book, Nature Inside Out: The Culture of Landscape from the City of Ye (196-240).
“Connoisseurship is the necessary base of art history, for until we know who made what when, we cannot engage in interpretation of paintings. Bringing together scholars from diverse backgrounds, this volume provides the necessary basis for the most important task facing art historians today, the creation of a true world art history.”
— David Carrier, Champney Family Professor, Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Institute of Art and author of Sean Scully, Museum Skepticism: A History of the Display of Art in Public Galleries, and A World Art History.