Catalogue from the exhibition at Suntory Museum of Art, Tokyo from October 26 to December 4, 2011 and at the Kobe City Museum, from April 21 to June 3, 2012.
"The Western Kings on Horseback screens, today designated by the Japanese government as Important Cultural Properties, are masterpieces of the early period Western style paintings that were created in the Momoyama to early Edo periods as part of the Namban arts. Today this part of screens is split between the collections of the Suntory Museum of Art and the Kobe City Museum. They were handed down over the centuries at the Aizu Wakamatsu Castle, and their depiction clearly reveals Western painting techniques. However the actual history of how, where and when these screens were created remained steeped in mystery. Thanks to the special cooperation provided by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, upon the organization of this exhibition, these mysteries are being unraveled through a thorough optical analysis of the two screens, Each section has been photographed using high resolution digital color macro photography, high definition infrared photography, and fluorescent radiographic analysis, both reflective and backlit. In particular, the survey focused on the Henry IV of France section of the Suntory screen and the Rodolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, of the Kobe screen. The results of a comparison of their details are included in the exhibition. Further unraveling of the mysteries of these screens has been made possible by the assemblage of masterpieces of Namban arts from around the world, from lacquer wares to screens, which allowed for a detailed examination of their elements and how they relate to the Western Kings screens." excerpt from the introductory text by The Organizers.
Published by Nikkei Inc., Japan, 2012
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