IC publishes Macao's College and Church of St. Joseph: Splendour of the Baroque in China

The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) publishes Macao's College and Church of St. Joseph: Splendour of the Baroque in China. The Church of St. Joseph and the Jesuit College -- today better known as the Seminary of St. Joseph -- is arguably the most important 18th century building of the early Society of Jesus in China and certainly among the most important ones in Macao. The two architectures are now listed as UNESCO cultural heritage buildings.

The Church of St. Joseph is one of four major churches built by the Jesuits in Qing Dynasty China during what came to be known as the Age of Enlightenment. These structures were designed and built when the Baroque style in art and architecture was in its last phase. Nevertheless, it continued to flourish with particular strength in Spanish and Portuguese Latin America. As the College and Church of St. Joseph show, the same is true of Macao.

The book is divided into two main parts. The first offers a historical perspective that looks at the Enlightenment and at the influence on French and other intellectuals, such as Leibniz, by the Jesuits of the China mission. The second and main part deals with the iconography of St. Joseph, as well as the architecture of the building and studies not only its plans but also its interior decoration and religious art.

The author, Cesar Guillen Nuñez, is a historian of art and researcher at the Macao Ricci Institute. Because of his passionate interest in the Baroque art and architecture of Spain, Portugal and Latin America at their moment of greatest splendour in the 17th and 18th centuries he has studied many buildings and works of art of this period in various cities and/or museums in Europe and the Americas, including Rome, Lisbon, Paris, London, Munich, Prague, Mexico City and New York. His researches have led him to Portuguese colonial art in Macao and in South-East Asia, as well as to the Jesuits as the great pioneers in the cultural exchange between China and the West at the time of the Early Society.

Macao's College and Church of St. Joseph: Splendour of the Baroque in China is priced at MOP180 and is available for sale at the Cultural Plaza, Seng Kwong Bookstore, Portuguese Bookstore, Public Information Centre and the Macao Archives.