Ulysse Nardin presents Lang Shining Limited Edition in celebration of the 45th anniversary of Elegant Watch & Jewellery. 8 sets of 4 watches, with watch dials featuring designs inspired by the work of Lang Shining (Giuseppe Castiglione, 1688 to 1768), who served as a Court painter for 51 years, spanning the period of the three emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. Lang Shining was particularly skillful in painting birds and flowers, and the watch dial designs feature the essence from his masterpieces “Beautiful Spring – Pheasants and Flowers”, “Flowers and a Pair of Cranes” and “Album of Birds and Flowers”. Using the technique of acrylic painting on the mother of pearl dial, skilled master craftsmen from Ulysee Nardin spent over 40 hours hand painting the meticulous images inspired by Lang Shining’s paintings on the limited space dials, sharing the magical interflow of the East and West cultural currents with watch lovers and connoisseurs. Lang Shining was born in Milan, Italy. Endowed with great talents of Western painting techniques, he joined the Society of Jesus at Genoa as a Brother at the age of 19. He came to China in 1715 and was presented to Emperor Kangxi under the aegis of Father Matteo Ripa. He was asked to learn Chinese painting under the order of the Emperor. During the reign of Qianlong, Lang Shining’s talent was even more favoured. He was good at painting portraits, birds and flowers, and dogs and horses. Although his painting skill was fundamentally based on Western methods of chiaroscuro and perspective, he realized the essence of the Chinese artistic tradition and combined the two art forms successfully with his own original approach. According to historians focusing on the study of late Ming and Qing dynasties, Lang Shining was the main propagator of the Western influence on Chinese painting. “Beautiful Spring – Pheasants and Flowers”, “Flowers and a Pair of Cranes” and “Album of Birds and Flowers” are the works of Lang Shining during Qianlong period, deploying auspicious objects and settings as the background. Members of the royal family were fond of his work.
“Album of Birds and Flowers”
The album contains 16 different studies of plants and flowers, painted mostly for the emperor’s consorts. The paintings displayed flowers for the four seasons, highlighted by huge rocks, birds and scattered sward. Lang Shining applied Western techniques of chiaroscuro and perspective, fully exhibiting the luxurious realism of the European Renaissance.
“Beautiful Spring – Pheasants and Flowers”
Employing Western painting techniques, Lang Shining drew the two very lively pheasants with brilliant and intensive colours. Yet the background of this painting contains rocks and flowers that Lang Shining applied with traditional Chinese painting skills.
“Flowers and a Pair of Cranes”
In the Chinese culture, cranes are considered as birds from heaven, symbolizing longevity. This painting is an expression of peace and eternity. The cranes that Lang Shining painted looked slim and elegant, their feathers seemed white and soft, particularly the black feathers on their tails. The flowers around them were painted gracefully and charmingly, and also smelled good!