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Events in Art and Archaeology

Diego Velázquez, <EM>Francisco Pacheco</EM>, 1619-22Oil on canvas, 40x36cm © Archivo Fotográfico, Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid.
Diego Velázquez, Francisco Pacheco, 1619-22
Oil on canvas, 40x36cm
© Archivo Fotográfico, Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid.
Captive Beauty: Treasures from the Prado Museum
TOKYO  •  Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum  •  10 October 2015 - 31 January 2016
The Museo del Prado, which opened to the public in 1819 as the Royal Museum of Painting and Sculpture, houses a collection of painting whose depth and quality are unparalleled worldwide. It reflects the taste and passion for art of successive sovereigns beginning in the fifteenth century. This exhibition, which is drawn entirely from the Prado’s extraordinary holdings, brings together works by a range of illustrious painters who have contributed significantly to the history of Europe art, among them El Greco, Velazquez, and Goya - considered the three greatest Spanish painters - together with Murillo, sometimes known as the "Spanish Raphael", and Northern masters such as Bosch and Rubens.

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum Website

Contact: Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum
Tokyo, Japan

Tel: (81) 03-5777 86 00

Takashi Murakami, the “Fire” panel in Arhat (detail)
Takashi Murakami, the “Fire” panel in Arhat (detail)
Takashi Murakami: The 500 Arhats
TOKYO  •  Mori Art Museum  •  31 October 2015 - 6 March 2016

Takashi Murakami, inspired by a series of dialogues with art historian Tsuji Nobuo for The Geijutsu Shincho art journal, and by paintings of the Five Hundred Arhats by Kano Kazunobu (1816-1863) and Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754-1799), enlisted over 200 students from Japanese art colleges to carry out the arduous task of completing, in a very short period of time, his 100-meter-long magnum opus painting.
The work consists of four sections bearing the names of the legendary Chinese guardians of the four celestial directions (blue dragon - east, white tiger - west, red bird - south, and black tortoise - north). Addressing themes of religion and art, human mortality and limitations, this new monumental work breaks new ground in Murakami' s creativity. His The 500 Arhats was unveiled overseas, making the forthcoming exhibition in Japan a 'homecoming.'

The 500 arhats are thought of as enlightened disciples of Buddha who spread his teachings and give ordinary people salvation from worldly desires. The faith of the arhats was conveyed to Japan during the Heian period (8th-12th century) and flourished throughout the country from the Edo period (17th-19th century) on in the forms of paintings and sculptures. Kano Kazunobu's Five Hundred Arhat's (housed at Zojoji Temple in Shiba, Tokyo), a 100-scroll series of paintings, was exhibited in Japan in its entirety for the first time at the Edo Tokyo Museum immediately following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, and at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, a Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. in 2012.

Paintings by Nagasawa Rosetsu and Kano Kazunobu that greatly inspired Takashi Murakami's The 500 Arhats will be on view at the Mori Art Museum. Nagasawa Rosetsu's recently re-discovered microscopic painting depicts the 500 arhats and animal figures on a 3-centimeter square area. In contrast, Kano Kazunobu's Five Hundred Arhats is a voluminous series, consisting of 100 copiously painted scrolls produced over a period of 10 years. It depicts the training of the arhats and their acts of salvation. Kazunobu's dense colors and obsessive depictions overwhelm the viewers. Displaying the paintings of Nagasawa Rosetsu and Kano Kazunobu in conjunction with Takashi Murakami's The 500 Arhats allows a dialogue between the Edo artists and the artist of our time.

The exhibition will also feature Murakami's large-scale sculptures such as The Birth Cry of a Universe, still in production after nearly 10 years, and Flame of Desire - Gold (2013); new paintings created especially for this exhibition from his signature series including "727" and "Tan Tan Bo"; as well as "Ensō" (circle) paintings and silver and gold "Karajishi" Chinese lion paintings, all of which will be shown for the first time in Japan.

Mori Art Museum Website

Contact: Mori Art Museum
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
6-10-1 Roppongi
Minato-Ku Tokyo 106-615
Tel: (81) 3 64 06 61

<EM>One-Handled Cup </EM>14th century B.C. Goldh. max. 7.43 cm, diam. 13.14 cmDendra, chamber tomb 10Athens, National Archaeological MuseumNational Archaeological Museum, Athens, photographer: Irini Miari © Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs/Archaeological Receipts Fund
One-Handled Cup
14th century B.C. Gold
h. max. 7.43 cm, diam. 13.14 cm
Dendra, chamber tomb 10
Athens, National Archaeological Museum
National Archaeological Museum, Athens, photographer: Irini Miari © Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs/Archaeological Receipts Fund
The Golden Legend
TOKYO  •  The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo  •  16 October 2015 - 11 January 2016

The lake-like Black Sea expands deep in the hinterlands of the Mediterranean region. The Bosporus Strait is the entrance to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean, and is renowned as a difficult sea-lane. According to Greek mythology, the hero Jason successfully sailed his ship Argo through this treacherous strait; his goal, the Golden Fleece of a kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea. With the help of Queen Medea, Jason acquired the Golden Fleece, and thus grew the legend of the Black Sea region as concealing golden riches. But, about 40 years ago it was discovered that this was something more than simple legend. Tombs were found in the Bulgarian town of Varna on the Black Sea coast that contained a massive number of golden burial goods. These funerary goods are known today as the world’s oldest golden items, dating to more than 6,000 years ago, even before the oldest pyramids in Egypt. The deceased, reduced to bones today, were found holding golden staffs and wearing large gold armlets. The round pieces of gold scattered around the skeleton were the decorations on the clothing that once garbed the deceased. This exhibition presents a reconstruction of the contents of tombs as they appeared when they were discovered, alongside the display of paintings recounting the legend of Jason and the Argonauts' pursuit of the then ancient Golden Fleece.

Then some three millennia after the golden treasure of the Black Sea, goldsmithing of incomparable intricacy and quality flourished on in the Etruscan civilization on the Italian Peninsula. The superb artistry of Etruscan gold, whose technologies remain a mystery today, can be seen in the renowned golden armlet from the Vatican Museums. This exhibition presents numerous masterpieces of gold work from the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean region, along with paintings on the theme of gold, reminding us that the human fascination with the material gold is as old as mankind.

The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo Website

Contact: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
7-7 Ueno-koen
Tokyo  110-0007
Tel: (81) 03 57 77 86

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