University of Oxford

History of Art Department

Professor Craig Clunas

Craig Clunas has published extensively on the art history and culture of China.  Much of his work concentrates on the Ming period (1368-1644), with additional teaching and research interests in the art of 20th century and contemporary China. He has worked as a curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and taught art history at the University of Sussex and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 
He is the author of Art in China  (1997, second edition 2009) in the Oxford History of Art Series, and his other books include Superfluous Things: Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China (1991); Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China (1996); Pictures and Visuality in Early Modern China (1997); Elegant Debts: The Social Art of Wen Zhengming, 1470-1559 (2004); Empire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China, 1368-1644 (2007), based on the 2004 Slade Lectures; several of these books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese and Korean. 
Craig has interests in the methodology and historiography of art history and contributed a study of the social history of art to the anthology Critical Terms for Art History (1996). His most recent book, on the cultural role of the Ming regional aristocracy, is Screen of Kings: Art and Royal Power in Ming China.  In 2012 he delivered the AW Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, under the title ‘Chinese Painting and its Audiences’, and the published version of these will appear with Princeton University Press in 2017. His current research deals with the transnational history of Chinese art in the short twentieth century, from 1911 to 1976.

Most recently, he co-curated the exhibition 'Ming: 50 years that changed China', at the British Museum from autumn 2014: