Eminent Chinese scholar Dr. Zhang Qing received a warm welcome by a Greek audience in Athens on Wednesday delivering a speech on Art along the Maritime Silk Road as part of efforts to further promote communication and collaboration between China and Greece in all sectors.
Dr. Zhang Qing, Head of the Curatorial and Research Department at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, took the audience on a fascinating journey into the long history of links between the arts in China and the West and exchange of art forms and styles along the Maritime Silk Road throughout the centuries.
During his lecture entitled "Maritime Culture and Chinese Art" the scholar of contemporary Chinese art history and theory presented through numerous examples the key role of the sea and the Maritime Silk Road in linking the Eastern and Western civilizations and the influential role of Chinese Art in the world art history.
Dr. Zhang spoke about how Western Art influenced Chinese artists during the Ming and Qing dynasties, how the Gusu Engravings influenced the Japanese Ukiyo-E artists and how this circle closed when French Impressionism artists, such as Degas and Monet, as well as Vincent Van Gogh, were influenced by Asian Art.
"Today indeed I talked a lot about the past, but we believe that when we study the past, when we study history and time, our target is the future. We want to discover new prospects for the future," Dr. Zhang told Xinhua after the seminar.
"In particular nowadays under the Belt and Road Initiative, through the Maritime Silk Road, we want to connect the world, we want to link the past to the future. Within this framework we want to see China holding a more significant role not only in the economic sector, but also in culture and Art," he said.
Wednesday's event was organized by the Chinese Culture Ministry and the Hellenic American College in cooperation with the Hellenic American University under the auspices of the Chinese embassy in Greece.
The seminar was hosted at the premises of the Hellenic American College in the centre of the Greek capital.
Speaking to Xinhua on the sidelines of the event, Leonidas Phoebus Koskos, President of the Hellenic American University, said that the institution seeks deeper and wider cooperation with China and can become a new bridge of communication between China and Greece, the East and the West.
"We are trying to cultivate a new relationship with the Chinese people and the Chinese culture and language. We have a specific interest for languages, because our linguistic department is well known and attracts many specialists around the world," he explained.
"In our plans is to establish an international center, Chinese center for language and Chinese culture, here in Athens and then on a reciprocity basis to establish an institute of Greek language and culture in an affiliated institution of tertiary education in China. This event is somehow the inaugural event of this project," Koskos said.