Giuseppe Castiglione Jesuit missionary and court painter in Beijing

Date: 25 May 2016
Speaker: Dr Francesco Vossilla


Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), known as Lang Shining in China, was a Jesuit Coadjutor Brother. His artistic talent was used by the Society of Jesus in a non-Christian environment. All of the religious works that Castiglione painted in Beijing are lost. However, we can still admire his portraits of Qing monarchs as well as his depictions of animals and flowers to appreciate his contributions to modern Chinese culture. Working for three emperors, Castiglione bridged Italian sensibility with Chinese themes to serve the imperial court as well as to support the Jesuit mission in China. This talk situates Castiglione’s vocational upbringing in Italy, then addresses the issue of the Jesuit quality of his achievements in Beijing. This is a first step to better analyze which sources and references (European and Jesuit and/or Chinese) fueled Lang Shining’s masterpieces at the Qing court.

Speaker Bio

Dr Francesco Vossilla

Member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze,
President of the Società di Studi Giuseppe Castiglione-Lang Shining

Dr Francesco Vossilla, an Italian art historian and museum studies scholar, is a curator and editor who has published mostly on Renaissance culture, from philosophy to the visual arts and the history of Italian museums. His most recent texts have focused on Michelangelo and Giuseppe Castiglione and their particular contributions to the birth of modern aesthetics.

Dr Vossilla teaches classes on the philosophy of art, museum studies, art history and design for American universities in Florence, Italy.

He is a member of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno di Firenze, which was founded in 1563, and he is President of the Società di Studi Giuseppe Castiglione-Lang Shining, which is dedicated to intercultural studies and named after the great Jesuit artist. He is also Honorary Professor to the President of Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei.