Our day of 'Le French May in Macau' begins with a morning visit guided by UMAG Director, Dr. Florian Knothe, to the exhibition Fantasy World – Chinoiserie at the Macao Museum. French Chinoiserie is a hybrid style incorporating Chinese motifs and patterns into French design. French as well as rare imported Chinese artefacts – some transformed by French artisans into more Western utilitarian and display objects – enriched royal interiors, particularly those of the court of Louis XV during the Rococo period (1725-1750). We will retrace the history of the French taste for Chinoiserie, and the strong bonds between China and France during the 17th and 18th centuries.
After a morning's viewing, we will enjoy lunch at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Robuchon au Dome, formerly Robuchon a Galera. Located at the dome of the Grand Lisboa Hotel, it offers stunning views of Macau. The chef will create a seasonal 3-course menu showcasing the culinary artistry that has earned the restaurant many accolades.
In the afternoon, we will visit Macao Museum of Art to see the exceptional exhibition, Napoleon and the Decorative Arts: Treasures of the Imperial Palaces. Shown for the first time, this exhibition comprises a unique collection of Empire-style furniture and decorative arts that are symbolic of the legendary Napoleon I Bonaparte, Emperor of France from 1804 to 1815, and early 19th century elegance and interior decoration. Many of the finest pieces of furniture, tapestries, candelabras, chandeliers and pendulum clocks from Napoleonic palaces, display the grand and opulent style of the Empereur des Francais which appropriated emblems of power from the ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures.
Dr. Florian Knothe completed his doctoral research on the social and historic importance of royal French manufacture, and has studied and taught the history of decorative arts in the 17th and 18th centuries. He has long been interested in the early modern fascination with Chinoiserie and the way royal workshops and smaller private enterprises helped to create and cater to this long-lasting fashion.
Dr. Knothe started his career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. Before joining The University of Hong Kong, where he now serves as Director of the University Museum and Art Gallery, Dr. Knothe was the curator of European glass at The Corning Museum of Glass overseeing the European and East Asian departments. There, he organized an exhibition on East Meets West, and afterward, lectured internationally on cross-cultural influences in art and workshop practices in Western Europe and East Asia.