Chinoiserie and the art of drawing South Asian Dragons and The Brighton Royal Pavilion

Chinoiserie Art

The framed prints above show my designs for two rolls with five dragons each with a total length of 2.5 metres and a central framed print titled ‘Chinoiseriez’ that shows six blue dragons flying defiantly and joyfully over the Brighton Royal Pavilion on a deep crimson background.  The design for these prints reflects on two linked art movements. The first one is the South Asian classic art of the 14th century, in particular, the work by the artist Cheng Rong.  The second movement is the European Chinoiserie art style of the 18th. century.


Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings 700-1900

In 2013 I was fortunate to visit the iconic exhibition at the V&A in London ‘Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings 700-1900.’ This exhibition had some of the most remarkable examples of Chinese painting from 1200 years of tradition.

At this exhibition, the artwork ‘Nine Dragons’ struck me as an absolute wonder. An artist called Chen Rong created in 1244 this masterpiece that was lent to the V&A Museum by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

‘Nine Dragons’ is considered the oldest and finest dragon scroll in South Asian Art. The design expresses these mythical creatures in different conjectures and attitudes amidst clouds, water and mountains and represents the dynamic forces of nature in Daoism.

Chinoiserie Wall Decor

Chinoiserie Paintings


Calligraphic art

My training and work experience as an architect has shaped my art expression. The use of ink as a medium to produce architectural technical drawings started my interest in calligraphic art.

The line in architecture often has a defined thickness. The use of special brushes, pens and calligraphy nibs opens the artistic expression to a dimension in movement where by rotation and variation of pressure the marks produced are distinct and personal.

Below I show photographs of my drawings at different stages and explains my creative process.  I first star with an initial concept drawing full of movement that in a second stage is consolidated into simple drawing. The final design is larger drawing full of small details.

Chinoiserie Artwork


The seaside Regency architecture of the Brighton Royal Pavilion

My print ‘Chinoiseriez’  shows the Brighton Royal Pavilion.  This building was the former royal residence of the Prince Regent and is currently a wonderful museum.

It is located in Brighton in the South East coast of England. It s construction begun in 1787 and was built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820.

The architectural complexity of the this building can easily be grasped by reading the below extract from Historic England that describes the East Facade: ‘ EXTERIOR: East Front: composed of 5 distinct parts, symmetrically arranged around the 7-bay colonnade of the rotunda; 3 French doors, each with pointed, trilobed heads and glazing bars of original design, open into the saloon; these window heads, inspired by Mughal architecture, are repeated throughout the fabric; columns in Bath stone have an octagonal socle, leafy base, octagonal shaft, and flaring, leaf capitals which terminate above the diamond crenellated parapet in octagonal pinnacles. The design of these columns repeated throughout the fabric, applied in many instances to pilasters. Between the tops of each pair of the rotunda columns is a screen of pierced quatrefoils arranged in intersecting S-curves which are formed from the lines of the horseshoe arches; above the centre bay of the colonnade in the parapet are the arms of the King and an inscription: “HRH George IV MDCCLXXXIV”. ‘


Classic 13th century Southern Chinese dragons

Dragons in Asian culture means prosperity. They are the ultimate benefactors. Often appearing in the most intricate and elevated form or arts. Below you can see from ‘The Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia’ from the British Museum a set of magnificent Ming dynasty dragon tiles, comprised of beautiful, large, high-relief tiles, made in sets to form a series of friezes showing blue-and-yellow dragons among lotuses.

Chinoiserie Artwork

Alejez Chinoiserie


Chinoiserie Art Print. Life triptych

In the summer of 2020 as part of a new commission I carried out further research into occidental representation of Asian art and motifs. This studies have led me to the creation of a new triptych group of prints that I have subsequently named ‘Chinoiseriez Life triptych’.

Together, these prints create a celebration of joy. The design travels through calligraphic art; the seaside Regency architecture of the Brighton Royal Pavilion, Chinoiserie architectural Victorian ornamentation and classic 13th. century Southern Chinese dragons.

These are the tittles of the three prints:

‘Chinoiseriez Life Enchantment.’ In this print twin dragons fly over  festive Brighton Pavilion that is dressed for the occasions with golden draperies and flags.

‘Chinoiseriez Life Joy.’ This print shows an old and bearded dragon with a mischievous attitude whilst pinches with its claws a golden finial of a minaret.

‘Chinoiseriez Life Delight.’ This last print shows a dragon with a crown featuring the feathers from the emblem of the Prince of Wales.


Chinoiseriez Arco

Chinoiserie Framed Art

In the summer of 2020 I revisited my 2012 original ‘Chinoiseriez’ print. It was the result of a private commission that requested the use of royal green and gold hues.  This revised design adds notes of early 20th century Asian inspired decorative arts motifs and continues the them of  historic collage which includes elements of Regency architecture of Indo-Saracenic style,  Chinoiserie interiors, classic calligraphic South Asian art.


Chinoiseriez. Alejez Presentation

In 2012 I completed my print ‘Chinoiseriez’ and presented it for the first time at the Brighton May Open House Festival. It became a contagious exhibition that extended to old a new friends. As a fun piece I created a range of clothes that followed the theme.

Chinoiserie Artwork

 

Chinoiserie Prints Gallery.

Thank you for your visit. if you would like to purchase one of my prints you can do so by visiting my Gallery with my favourite and best sellers ‘Chinoiseriez’ prints:

 

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