Ford Lecture: How to Read Chinese Paintings

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The Chinese way of appreciating a painting is often expressed by the words du hua, “to read a painting.” Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, will visually analyze select paintings and calligraphies from the encyclopedic collection of The Met in order to reveal what makes each significant.

Spanning a thousand years of Chinese art from the eighth through the 17th century, the lecture will examine multiple layers of meaning—style, technique, symbolism, past traditions, and the artist’s personal circumstances—in the treatment of landscapes, flowers, birds, figures, religious subjects, and calligraphies in order to illuminate the main goal of every Chinese artist: to capture not only the outer appearance of a subject but also its inner essence.

This lecture is generously sponsored by John and Berthe Ford.