Dr Esther Chadwick
I am currently a third year PhD Candidate at SOAS’s Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, working under the supervision of Prof Shane McCausland (SOAS), Prof Ashley Thompson (SOAS) and Dr Esther Chadwick (The Courtauld Institute of Art). My doctoral research, ‘The Global Portrait: Subject, Site and Temporality in Portraiture of the Long Seventeenth Century in China’ (working title), is supported by a SOAS Research Studentship.
Prior to my PhD, I was awarded two MA degrees (both with Distinction). In 2016, I completed a SOAS’s History of Art and Archaeology MA with the dissertation 'The Artist as Masterpiece: Seventeenth-Century Self-Portraiture in the Dutch Republic and in Late Ming China’ which analysed how self-portraits in late-Ming China and in the Dutch Republic mediated in the reciprocal relationship between the artist and a public who was obsessively concerned with questions of authenticity at a time when art had become part of a commodities market with transactional value.
In 1998, I gained a practice-led MA at Central Saint Martins College (present day University of the Arts, London) in Communication Design where I produced a set of art books.
My doctoral research, ‘The Global Portrait: Subject, Site and Temporality in Portraiture of the Long Seventeenth Century in China’ (working title) examines the different dimensions evidenced in portraits of men and women living in the late-Ming dynasty and Transition period in China's cultural and economic powerhouse, the Jiangnan region. Moving beyond the paradigm of the face to incorporate histories of calligraphy and landscape to the study of portraiture, this research challenges Eurocentric notions of selfhood that have defined the modern self as an 'invention' of the European Renaissance.
My research also argues that art historical taxonomies of portraiture that still privilege national narratives, including today's digital databases, narrow the understanding of what a portrait is and how personhood may be embodied in art practice.
- 2020 'The Real and the Imagined Dong Qichang in ""Exalted Gathering in the Green Forest"", Conference Proceedings, International Symposium: The Art of Dong Qichang (21-23 January 2019, Shanghai Museum)
- 'Decolonising the Self: A View from China' presented at the CAA Annual Conference 2020 in Chicago, USA (12-15 February 2020)
- 'The Real and the Imagined Dong Qichang' presented at the international symposium on Dong Qichang's painting and calligraphy, 'The Ferryman of the Ink World' at the Shanghai Museum (21-23 January 2019)
- 'The Real and the Imagined Dong Qichang' presented at the international symposium ‘Jiangnan Junctions: Global Perspectives on the Arts, Exchanges and Reflections South of the Yangtze, 1100 – 1900’, organised by the Zhejiang University, Hangzhou in collaboration with the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU)-China Academic Network Scientific Forum (26 November 2018)
- ‘The Unbounded Self' presented at the postgraduate conference 'Decolonisation in Praxis’ at SOAS University of London (7 June 2018)
- CAA (College Art Association)