The Chinese face of Jesus Christ

During the 1930s and 1940s a group of Chinese Christian artists was active at the Catholic University of Peking (also known as Fu Jen University, founded in 1925). These young artists tried to express the Christian faith in a Chinese way, and their style is known as “Ars Sacra Pekinensis” (Sacred Art of Peking, see the book by Fritz Bornemann, Ars Sacra Pekinensis, Mödling 1950). About 500 works have been preserved and collected (or at least photos of the paintings), most of them stemming from three men: Chen Yuandu 陈缘督, Wang Suda 王肃达 and Lu Hongnian 陆鸿年. Other artists of the school also pro­duced several remarkable works, among them the most outstanding men were Xu Jihua 徐济华, Wang Chengxiang 王呈祥, Huang Ruilong 黄瑞龙, Li Mingyuan 李呜远 and Ms. Liu Yanbin 刘彦斌. Since the Second World War and the political changes after 1949 interrupted their work, these painters are largely forgotten. Only a few studies and publications concerning their works can be found, among them Sepp Schüller, Die Ge­schichte der christlichen Kunst in China (1940), and from the same author Neue christliche Malerei in China (1940). In China Mr. Liu Ping 刘平 has produced a substantial 400-page volume on the history of Christian (Catholic) art in China, Zhongguo tianzhujiao yishu jianshi 中国天主教艺术简史 (2014). However, many Chinese Christians are not aware of the paintings produced by the Sacred Art School of Peking. Most Chinese are unable to appreciate these sinicized paintings, because they lack a knowledge of the development of Christian art in Europe and in China, thus they cannot appreciate the special contribution of this art school.



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