All art is contemporary…Episode #9

02 February 2021

“Orient and Orientalisms”

A short excursus amongst Flashback’s works at the search for Orient in all its shades. Works by Eastern artists, but also of Western ones who have either imitated or represented aspects of the Middle East and of Southern and Eastern Asia cultures. 

Starting from the East, the first element of investigation is the smokescreen that – as a support for actual works – has been rooted in ancient China since the 8th century B.C., to then spread throughout the rest of East Asia, in Europe and in other regions of the world. 

Amongst Flashback’s works, do we find the Six doors paneled screen in paper and silver leaf, coming from Japan and made in the Taisho Period (1911-1926) by artist Kashiu Hiroe, which is characterized by its rarefied content. On the other end, the Chinese Smokescreen, end of XVIII century / beginning XIX century, in rice paper with polychrome decoration, lingers on the detailed description. 

A second element of investigation is the representation of animals in the Eastern culture. The Bull in red earthenware and gold of Center-Eastern China, Hebei, Northern Qi Dynasty (549-577) and the Ningxia Carpet, China, 19th Century, intrigue for the symbology associated to the animals represented.

We then make a space leap and come back to Italy, namely in Piedmont, to observe the interpretation of the East by the West. In the mid-18th Century, did the Plastificatore piemontese develop a rare Coppia di Dignitari in abiti orientali, in cream-coloured stucco with golden decorations.  

Finally, painting with Jean Baptiste Eugene Napoleon Flandin, Galileo Chini and Filippo Mola.

Jean Baptiste Eugene Napoleon Flandin, orientalist, painter, archaeologist and explorer, a pioneer of archaeological design, provides us with many precious observations on the social life, administration and military organization of the Middle East. The work is La Moschea di Urfa of 1849.

Galileo Chini, born in Florence in 1873, provides his own interpretation of the Eastern mask, in particular, of Siam (today Thailand), with work Siamese mask, oil on panel of 1913-14 approx.

Finally, Filippo Mola, by Corteo indiano, develops a work that manages to transmit with mastery the choral collective dimension of the Eastern procession which was likely held in Rome close to Piazza del Popolo in 1900.

No snowflake ever fall into the wrong place
(Zen Proverb) 

In the image, on the top Left /hand: Jean Baptiste Eugene Napoleon Flandin, La moschea di Urfa (The Mosque of Urfa), 1849, oil on canvas, 73.2 x 100.4 cm, courtesy of Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art (Rome). Followed by: Hebei Center-East China, Painted pottery figure of Bull, Northern Qi Dynasty 549-547, terracotta with polychromy and gold, cm 43 x 16.5 x 38.3, courtesy of Schreiber Collezioni (Turin). Followed by: Late 18th/early 19th Century, Chinese smokescreen, rice paper with polychrome decoration, cm 190 x 350, courtesy of Galleria Arte Cesaro (Padua).
At the center: Filippo Mola, Corteo indiano (Indian procession), oil on canvas, cm 73 x 190.5, courtesy of Paolo Antonacci (Rome). Followed by: Galileo Chini, Siamese mask, 1913-14 approx., oil on panel, cm 60 x 47.5, courtesy of Galleria Carlo Virgilio (Rome; London).
Below, on the LH side: China, 19th Century, Ningxia Carpet, cm 198 x 132, courtesy of Mirco Cattai Fine Art & Antique Rugs (Milan). Followed by: Piedmontese Plasticizer, Rara coppia di Dignitari in abiti orientali (Rare pair of Dignitaries in Eastern Outfit),  mid-18th century, cream-colored stucco with golden decorations, height cm 74, courtesy of Secol-Art di Masoero (Turin).
Followed by: Kashiu Hiroe, Six doors paneled screen in paper and silver leaf, Taisho Period 1911-1926, L cm 376 H cm 170.5, courtesy of Gilistra Japanese Art (Turin).