The Art of the Enlightenment

the art of the enlightenmentThe Berlin State Museums, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich jointly present the largest exhibition of European art from the Enlightenment ever to be seen in Asia. In April 2011, the three German museum bodies unveiled more than 400 exhibits, spread over a total display area of 2700 m2 in the National Museum of China in Beijing. With their combined loans, that include masterpieces by Pesne, Füssli, Piranesi and Goya, they are able to present the full spectrum of the art of the Enlightenment, encompassing painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, crafts, fashion and even exquisite scientific instruments. At its heart, the exhibition will feature artworks which best exemplify the great ideas of the Enlightenment, its influence on the fine arts and its effective history, from the artistic revolutions of the 18th century right up to the present day.

This joint exhibition held in the National Museum of China in Beijing is primarily financed by the German Foreign Office and marks the high point of the German-Chinese programme of cultural events, bilaterally agreed upon in 2005. Celebrating its opening after the completion of renovation work by Hamburg-based architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner, the National Museum of China is set to become the largest museum building in the world. Along with its architectural new dimensions comes the demand of establishing the museum as a forum of art and culture for all continents. The exhibition on the Enlightenment’s artistic and intellectual legacy that continues to be of seminal importance for Western civilization sets a signal of the educational ambitions of museums themselves as places of enlightenment.


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The following Dialogues took place in the National Museum of China from spring 2011 to spring 2012. more


Current information about "Enlightenment in Dialogue" can be downloaded here free of charge. more

Please find selected essays from the exhibition catalogue „Die Kunst der Aufklärung“ by the Berlin State Museums, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich in cooperation with the National Museum of China, Beijing 2011 for further reading here.

Gao Yi, Xu Qianjin: European Enlightenment in the Chinese Context

Günther Lottes: The Birth of European Modernity from the Spirit of Enlightenment

Werner Busch: Art in the Age of Enlightenment from a Pan-European Perspective

Peter-Klaus Schuster: Light and Shadows. On the Dialectic of Enlightenment in Art