Special Exhibition Echoes of a Masterpiece: The Lineage of Beauty in Japanese Art
The brilliant relationships in Japanese aesthetics
Art is all about connections. One masterpiece can influence future generations. Talented artists carry on the skills of their predecessors to create new works. New forms of expression are created through connections to other fields, such as classical literature. Such connections are the focus of this special exhibition entitled “Echoes of a Masterpiece: The Lineage of Beauty in Japanese Art,” which gives an overview of the currents of art over the course of more than 1,000 years. About 120 items will be brought together for the exhibition, including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties.
One example of these connections is the inspiration that Chinese painting has given to Japanese artists. Sesshu Toyo not only learned from past Chinese works, but he also went to China himself during the Ming dynasty and adopted its style of painting into his original and complex compositional techniques. Kano Motonobu further organized his compositions to produce paintings of flowers and birds with clarity.
Japanese art also has a strong connection with literature. Inspiration from The Tales of Ise and The Tale of Genji has produced paintings and craft products with motifs from memorable scenes such as irises and bridges, or bottle gourds and fans. The precision in the techniques by the master artists brings the actions of the characters to life.
In the genre paintings that gained popularity in the early 17th century, various tales are recalled by the intersecting gazes of men and women. A pose of a figure is sometimes employed in another work. The connections are nearly limitless.
Among the displayed works are big names such as Ito Jakuchu and Katsushika Hokusai. The works of Kishida Ryusei show the influence of Western art along with the lineage of Japanese aesthetics from the past. This exhibition allows visitors to view Japanese art from a new perspective.
(Text: Naoko Aono)
Special Exhibition Celebrating the 130th Anniversary of KOKKA and the 140th Anniversary of The Asahi Shimbun
Echoes of a Masterpiece: The Lineage of Beauty in Japanese Art
Dates: April 13 (Fri) – May 27 (Sun), 2018 First half: April 13 (Fri) – May 5 (Sun); second half: May 8 (Tues) – May 27 (Sun)
Venue: Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum
13-9 Ueno Park, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Times: 9:30 – 17:00 (until 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays, until 18:00 on Sundays and holidays; entrance closes 30 minutes before closing time) Closed Mondays (open April 30)
Admission: 1,600 yen (general), other rates
Contact: 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial)
Important Cultural Property, Cactus and Domestic Fowls, Ito Jakuchu, Edo period, 18th century, Saifuku-ji, Osaka
National Treasure, Writing Box with Design of Yatsuhashi (eight-planked bridge), Ogata Korin, Edo Period, 18th century, Tokyo National Museum
(exhibition period: April 13-May 6)