Italian diplomat attends Beijing art show, highlights exchanges
Ambassador ‘fascinated’ by Chinese culture
Published: Jun 07, 2023 11:32 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Accompanied by Eike D. Schmidt, the director of Italy's eminent art house the Uffizi Gallery, the Ambassador of Italy to China Massimo Ambrosetti attended an art exhibition co-designed by Beijing's National Museum of China (NMC) and the Uffizi Gallery in Italy on Wednesday.

The exhibition at the NMC features 50 precious self-portrait paintings from the Uffizi Gallery's collection. Including authentic artworks by Renaissance master Raphael and "master of light" Rembrandt, the show is a highlight of the China-Italy 2023 year of cultural exchanges. 

It is also the first large-scale cultural event attended by the newly-appointed Italian ambassador to China, who arrived in the country on May 16.

At the event, Ambrosetti told the Global Times that he has been fascinated by Chinese culture, especially porcelain, since the mid-1990s, when he was a young Italian diplomat.

"I took classes on Chinese porcelain from one of the creators of the Palace Museum," he said. 

Describing his Chinese porcelain journey as an "incredible experience," the ambassador remarked that it marked the beginning of his relationship with China's "rich and wonderful" cultural traditions. 

Discussing China's porcelain and Europe's ceramic traditions, Ambrosetti addressed the mutual cultural appreciation taking place between the two countries and how they can be found in historical references. 

A Self-Portrait by artist Antonio Cioci is on display at the show. A porcelain ware with Asian designs can be seen somewhat hidden in the painting's right side.  Alessandra Griffo, the exhibition's Italian curator, told the Global Times that the work was made in Italy in the 18th century and "epitomizes the West's longing for Chinese porcelain." 

Revealing plans to visit Chinese porcelain capital Jingdezhen in East China's Jiangxi Province later in June, Ambrosetti told the Global Times that ancient art isn't the only area in which China and Italy can further collaborate in 2023. Contemporary art and archaeology are two other fields in which he thinks China and Italy can cooperate well. 

Ambrosetti isn't the only person who thinks joint cultural programs can "deepen understanding between countries," Schmidt told the Global Times. 

The veteran art expert told the Global Times that the exhibition reveals the "historical succession" of various artistic approaches and that the value of these time-honored artworks goes beyond their historical importance as they can inspire contemporary creative culture. 

Besides the Beijing event, China and Italy are planning on another arts project that will bring treasures from the National Archaeological Museum of Naples to Beijing on Saturday. 

"I see that Chinese visitors are truly curious about Italian art and culture," Griffo told the Global Times.