V&A's 'dazzling' Masterpieces of Chinese Painting - reviews
Fascinating new exhibition of 1200 years of 'breathtaking' Chinese art is a rare delight
What you need to know
The V&A's new exhibition of traditional Chinese painting has been hailed as a triumph by critics. Masterpieces of Chinese Painting 700-1900 presents over 70 artworks, ranging from small silk paintings to banners and large-scale scrolls, many never seen before in Europe.
The exhibition charts the progression of styles and subjects over a 1,200 year period. It includes figure paintings for religious purposes, landscapes accompanied by poems and the introduction of Western influences. Runs until 19 January.
What the critics like
The V&A's fascinating new exhibition is "a perpetually positive delight", says Alastair Smart in the Daily Telegraph. Part of the thrill is making a mental comparison between Chinese painting and parallel European traditions, including masterpieces as expressive as any in European painting before Van Gogh.
The "breathtaking" paintings in this show range from dazzling Buddhist banners to images of exquisite court ladies, says Rachel Spence in the Financial Times. These, combined with a curatorial approach that strikes a balance between scholarship and storytelling, is a triumphant recipe.
"The exhibition is rightly entitled Masterpieces, as the range of high quality and rare treasures is quite awesome," says Eleanor Macfarlane in The Upcoming. Indeed, it is amazing that such early treasures exist at all, many in wonderful condition.
What they don't like
This important scholarly exhibition is rewarding to the specialist but "the ordinary visitor may find it heavy going", the erudition beyond them, says Brian Sewell in the Evening Standard. Seek enjoyment first, then, having read the catalogue, return for another bite at the cherry. ·