Lang Shi Ning, formerly known as Giuseppe Gasstirio (Italian: Giuseppe Castiglione, July 19, 1688 – July 17, 1766) of Italian descent was a Catholic Jesuit missionary and Chinese court painter. His realistic painting style documented the Chinese court figures and scenery in the early Qing Dynasty.
Castiglione did not only focus on creating his own masterpieces during his time with the three ruling emperors – Emperors Kangxi, Yongzheng and Qianlong. He also taught European painting techniques to the Chinese painters, and collaborated with them on artworks.
Castiglione himself. The scenery in the background was painted by two Chinese court painters Fang Cong and Jin Tingbiao. Signed by Castiglione, this was an important classic work of “co-painting” combining Eastern and Western aesthetics at the time.
This painting was created on white silk and shows two peacocks in the centre, and the male peacock has an oval-shaped tail screen，Its tail showcases beautiful feather colours, which is truly a dazzling sight to behold. The backdrop is set in the royal garden, over a turquoise stacked stone landscape，The magnolia, peony, and begonia connotes the idea of “wealth and nobility in halls of jade”.
Since this “Peacock Spreading Its Feathers” is a rare masterpiece, it is also highly regarded by art appreciators from past to present. During the opening ceremony of the Federation of World Cultural & Art Society in 2018, it was publicly displayed in a glass cabinet for visitors to appreciate.
This painting is 136 cm wide and 163 cm long, It is currently in the care of a honorary member of FOWCAAS.
The other painting is 282 cm wide and 328 cm long. It is currently in the possession of the National Palace Museum in Taiwan.