Vue de Praia Grande à Macao

Vue de Praia Grande à Macao

Size : 24 x 37 cm
Color : Coloris original
Condition : Très bon
Technique : Ink on paper
Reference : 399-22

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Inscription in bottom on the left: "Makao".

This view, painted in watercolor on paper by Eduard Hildebrandt around 1860, represents Praia Grande in Macao. A Portuguese colony in China since 1557, this city is the embodiment of the encounter between the West and Asia.

Following in the footsteps of Auguste Borget and George Chinnery, Eduard Hildebrandt painted several views of Macao during his trip around the world. In this composition, he represents many emblematic monuments of this merchant city of the Pearl River Delta. In the foreground, on the left, he paints the Palácio do Governador built in 1849 in a typical pombalin style of Portuguese architecture. The watercolorist also shows the cathedral, Igreja da Sé, or the Fortaleza da Guia, the highest point of the colony.

A student of Isabey, Eduard Hildebrandt was one of the first artists to immortalize Macau and greatly contributed to the diffusion of its image. This composition has been reproduced in lithography but the artist also gave another watercolor version (Illus. 01). In the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Léon Lagrange reported that Hildebrandt's works were exhibited in Paris in 1866 in the form of dioramas thanks to the Aléthescope: "It is marvelous to see that these images, which are already so faithful to nature, gain in truth, in strength, in brilliance. The streets of Hong Kong and Peking, the theaters of Macao, the gulf of Nagasaki, illuminated by artificial light, take on a surprising value, one feels a fiery sun, one sees the crowd swarming there" [1].

Illus. 01: Eduard Hildebrandt, View of Praia Grande in Macao 1863, watercolor on paper, 24 x 38 cm, Bonhams sale, September 15, 2010, Travel and exploration, lot n° 47.

[1] Léon Lagrange, "Bulletin mensuel, janvier 1866", in La Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1866, p. 192.