peter sturman, professor

curriculum vitae

peter sturmanspecialization
Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, Early to Modern, intersections of texts, theories, and images.


Arts 1214

office hours: summer 2015

B.A. Stanford University
M.A., Ph.D. Yale University

After studying at the University of Chicago (1973-1975) and Stanford (1976-1978, B.A.), Peter Sturman received his M.A. (1981) and Ph.D. (1989) degrees from the Department of Art History, Yale University, specializing in Chinese painting and calligraphy. His dissertation on the transitional Song dynasty scholar-official painter and calligrapher Mi Youren (1074-1151) established his work as integrally related to the foundation of Song literati art. This was followed by a book on Mi Youren’s father, Mi Fu: Style and the Art of Calligraphy in Northern Song China, which not only explores the art of one of China’s most famous calligraphers in the context of his period but also sets it into the emerging framework of a theory of style in Chinese art.

Professor Sturman’s research extends back to Han dynasty mortuary objects and forward to 20th century Chinese modernist art. His research interests include the development of monumental landscape painting during the Song dynasty (10th-11th centuries), loyalist painting and calligraphy at the start of the Yuan dynasty under the Mongols, the development and reception of the wild cursive (kuangcao) style of calligraphy, and the emergence of Modernist landscape painting in the 20th century. He actively engages in museum exhibition work and has co-authored catalogues on the modern artist Chu Ko and Qing dynasty calligraphy couplets. He is currently curating an exhibition of 17th-century painting and calligraphy on the theme of reclusion. In addition, Professor Sturman is writing a book on Northern Song literati theory and practice of painting titled Painting and the Historical Mind in Song Dynasty China. All of his work emphasizes the coordination of image and text in Chinese art.

Professor Sturman has been teaching in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1988. His graduate students work on various topics and gain experience both in the classroom and in museums. They participate actively with Professor Sturman in the preparation and writing of the catalogues for his curated shows, work that assists them in their professional careers.

selected publications

Mi Fu: Style and the Art of Calligraphy in Northern Song China (Yale University Press, 1997).

Double Beauty: Qing Dynasty Couplets from the Lechangzai Xuan Collection (The Chinese University Art Museum, Hong Kong, 2003).

"Cranes Above Kaifeng: The Auspicious Image at the Court of Huizong."  Ars Orientalis, vol. XX (1990), 33-68.

"The Donkey Rider as Icon: Li Cheng and Early Chinese Landscape Painting."  Artibus Asiae, vol. LV, 1/2 (1995), 43-97.

"Confronting Dynastic Change: Painting After the Mongol Reunification of North and South China." RES 35 (1999), 143-169.

"Grids, Ground Planes, Fragments and Fractures: Modernism and the Chinese Landscape," in At the East-West Crossroads—The Art of Wucius Wong (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2006), 15-25.

"Spreading Falling Blossoms: Style and Replication in Shen Zhou’s Late Calligraphy." Tsing Hua Xuebao (Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies), New Series XL/3 (September, 2010), 365-410.

undergraduate courses

History of Art in China
Art in Modern China
The Art of Landscape in China
History and Aesthetics of Chinese Calligraphy

graduate seminars

2007   Modernist Structures and Strategies in 20th-Century Chinese Art
2008   The Real and Imagined in Song Dynasty Painting
2009   The Methods of Chinese Calligraphy
2010   China in the 17th Century: Exhibition Preparation
2011   The Hermit in Chinese Art