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Location:Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian)
Dates: 2019-09-08 through 2019-10-22
Admission: Free with the purchase of a general admission ticket
The opening ceremony for “The Forbidden City Series by Jiang Guofang” was held at the Hall of Literary Brilliance (Wenhua dian) at the Forbidden City on 7 September 2019. The exhibition presents 150 works by Jiang Guofang (b. 1951) on the theme of the Forbidden City.
Having focused his attention on the Forbidden City since his twenties, Jiang has spent approximately forty years creating his Forbidden City series, which includes sketches, drawings, oil paintings, and works of other genres. In September 2004, Jiang held a painting exhibition at the Palace Museum. The Palace Museum’s former Deputy-Director Yang Xin (b. 1940) noted that although Jiang was not the first person to depict the Forbidden City and its figures in oil painting, he was the first and only one to do so on such a large scale and from a new historical perspective. “The Forbidden City Series by Jiang Guofang” has been held in Italy, Greece, Germany, the United States, France, and other countries.
Jiang’s Forbidden City series is filled with a majestic energy while imbued with a classical legacy of sacred solemnity. In combining humanity’s natural warmth and allure, he is able to touch viewers with a special kind of astonishment. His works are filled with his own sense of history, artistic style, and cultural content yet display the abundance of the Forbidden City’s centuries-long history in an endless outpouring of charisma and inspiration that allows visitors to experience and communicate with the ancient civilization through the silent depictions.
On this momentous occasion, Jiang Guofang is gifting the Palace Museum with two of his most representative works. One is a painting called Chairman Mao in the Palace Museum (Mao Zhuxi zai Gugong). This important work of history painting reveals Chairman Mao Zedong’s third visit the Palace Museum. Set on the Palace Museum city ramparts, Chairman Mao Zedong wears traditional Chinese cloth shoes as he sits on a simple folding stool talking with one of the Museum’s workers. The vivid, moving scene not only reflects the leader’s intimacy with the masses but, more importantly, Chairman Mao’s high value and deep concern for traditional Chinese culture. The other gifted work is Palace Door (Gong men), which serves as the opening of the exhibition and has been recognized as the artist’s “business card”. The painting depicts the corridors of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) in an exposé of China’s historic court lifestyles.
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying