School of Arts

Masters of Modern Chinese Painting

Key information

14 October – 09 December 2022
Attendance mode
Online learning

Course overview

The 20th century was an unspeakably turbulent time in China—the millenia-old imperial system collapsed, the Nationalists and Communists fought a civil war to win control of the country, and foreign powers invaded and sought control for their own benefit. Throughout this period, China’s leaders and intellectuals explored fresh innovations, looked abroad for remedies, and urged revival of ancient traditions in fervent attempts to save and strengthen the country. In this civilization with one of the world’s richest and longest cultures, painting and calligraphy—long considered in China to be the finest and most expressive art form—occupied a central role in this national drama.

This online course examines China’s historical events and cultural developments, as well as individual personal experiences and resulting artistic expression, during the 20th century by focusing on seven of China’s most skilful and innovative modern artists: Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Jiang Zhaohe, Fu Baoshi, Zhang Daqian, Fang Zhaoling, and Zao Wou-ki. Following the introductory presentation, each weekly lecture and discussion session will be delivered by one of the course’s international roster of exceptionally experienced and engaging scholars, professors, and curators. Participants will gain a comprehensive understating of the primary artistic developments that characterize Chinese modern paintings, the myriad influences and challenges that impacted these developments, and how these changes were evaluated. They will also receive a focused insight into the biography, artistic brilliance, and masterpieces of each artist. This foundation will provide invaluable benefit to understand the current challenges and achievements of art in contemporary China.

The course is convened by Elizabeth Hammer and is run in assosiation with Asia Week New York.


The course features eight online lectures delivered via Zoom, every Friday at 16.00 (UK time). Each lecture is followed by an extended Q&A session. All lectures will also be recorded and made available for registrants to view in their own time for a limited period.

Download the Masters of Modern Chinese Painting schedule (PDF).

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Fees and funding



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Please refer to our registration terms and conditions before registering.