REVIEW: ‘Beauty in Greatness Through Details’ – Exhibition at NAMOC Beijing

This past week we visited the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) for the exhibition ‘Beauty in Greatness Through Details’. The theme is small artworks (a maximum of 60cm tall or wide), and the museum clearly has no shortage of them, as the exhibition includes almost a thousand works of art over five floors of the museum! Exhibits are mostly paintings, but also include woodcuts and sculptures. 

Read on to find out more about the exhibition!

油城乐章 by Song Enhou, 1988.

Our opinion:

    • Nic: “This exhibition felt a little overwhelming, as there is just so much to see. From what we saw the art is mostly modern (post-50s). If that’s something you like then this might be appealing. If you’re looking for art created in dynastic China, which I personally enjoy, this might not be of interest although of course a lot of modern Chinese art is often heavily influenced by traditional art. But I found a lot of the pieces very appealing and appreciated the variety of works on show.”
    • AJ: “Apart from everything being on the ‘small side’ I felt that this exhibition didn’t really have a great focus. Yes, some pieces did live up to the exhibition’s name, encouraging passers-by to really look closer at the works finer details, but that quality was hardly present in everything on display, though some might have a finer eye for such details than me. The fact that there is such a wide selection of art on display meant I was able to find quite a few pieces that did interest me, so it definitely wasn’t a waste of time. I do just wish I’d allowed more time to visit. One and half hours simply wasn’t enough!”


    • Booking: You must book in advance and it’s easy through their official WeChat account (中国美术馆) if you can read basic Chinese. Take your passport on the day you visit. 
    • Staff friendliness: We found all staff polite, friendly and helpful.
    • Language: Exhibition introductions are in good English, but nothing else is.
    • Disability options: The museum is wheelchair accessible. 
    • Opening hours: 9am-5pm, with last entry at 4pm. Closed on Mondays. This particular exhibition runs until March 26th 2023.
牡丹 by Wang Yan, 2022.


    • Easy to get to? The museum is easy to get to via subway, with the exit of National Art Museum station (line 8) right outside the museum entrance.
    • Parking options? There is no parking available on site.
    • What’s nearby? The museum is not far from Wangfujing for shopping and restaurants and is a short walk from the Dongsi area of hutongs.
和 。合 by Zhou Yinjun, 2019


      • Price: All exhibitions are free.
      • Food options: There is a small cafe on site serving coffee, tea and snacks. 
      • Is it family friendly? Not really. Although we did see one school group, the art is not displayed at a height suitable for young children to see, and the exhibition is so large that they might get bored. There are benches to sit down on but not many. 
      • How much time to allow: At least half a day, but to see everything, a full day. 
      • Toilets: On every floor. 
      • Good to know: Photography and videoing are allowed. But gimbals, tripods and selfie sticks are strictly forbidden (as we found out first hand!)
鲁迅与方志敏之三 by Zhang Huaijiang (date unknown)


    • Who is it for? If you love small, exquisite details, you’ll enjoy this exhibition! 
    • What can you actually get out of visiting? You’ll come away with an appreciation of the diversity of the art held in NAMOC’s collections, particularly that from the 1950s onwards. 
    • Anything special of note? You’ll get to see artworks from some of China’s most famous artists, including Lin Fengmian, Shi Lu, Qi Baishi, Qian Songyan, Xu Beihong and many more!
陕北高秋 by Qian Songyan, 1960
鱼鹰小舟 by Lin Fengmian, 1961
种瓜得瓜 by Shi Lu

Are you planning on visiting this exhibition? If you did, let us know what you thought in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts and insights on traditional Chinese culture! And go to our social media channels (see below) for video from the exhibition!

Photo Credits
– Cultural Keys. Top image: 渔歌唱晚 by Yin Zhixin, 2022. All works from the National Art Museum of China. 

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