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Special Exhibition Celebrating the Museum’s 75th Anniversary
Maruyama Ōkyo: Opening up New Terrain in Japanese Painting
November 3, Thursday- December 18, Sunday, 2016
Closed Mondays
Hours 10 am to 5 pm(Entrance closes 30 min. before closing)
General admission Adult 1300 yen, Student 1000 yen
Gallery 1

 Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–95) brought about a revolution in the history of Japanese painting through a new style based in realistic sketching from nature. Underlying this realist painting is a level of technical achievement that is at once both transcendent and highly diverse. In recent years, however, there has been increasingly more recognition of Ōkyo’s painting as being multifaceted to a degree that cannot be adequately expressed through the words and concepts of realism or naturalistic sketching alone.
 This exhibition presents a number of great masterpieces that represent the span of Ōkyo’s lifetime within the gallery space of the Nezu Museum and attempts to reexamine them anew. Joining them on view are works from the artist’s younger years that embody vast potential and richly preserve vestiges of his early painting training, as well as nature sketches of exceptional aesthetic quality. Through these works, we hope to illuminate the impact of Ōkyo’s oeuvre beyond the rubric of simple “realism.”

Gallery Exhibits

Important Cultural Property
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, dated 1776
Nezu Museum
This painting depicts wisteria across a solid gold ground. The trunks and branches are rendered in the tsuketate technique, which at first glance appears roughly painted, but at the same time expresses three-dimensionality through controlled variations of intensity in the ink. The original rendering of the sepals of the flowers, achieved with layered white, blue, and purple pigments, looks almost as if it could be a Western Impressionist painting.
Important Cultural Property
Dragons and Clouds
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, dated 1773
Private collection
Through the masterful command of ink painting techniques, this image of dragons confers a powerful sense of presence to the imaginary beasts. In the dragon on the right screen in particular, the massive trunk-like flesh of the body seems to surge outward toward the viewer in an impressive technique that is especially noteworthy. The swirling atmosphere of the thick, steamy clouds is also exceptionally rendered. 【On view 11/29 to 12/18】
Autumn Field in the Dawn
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, dated 1769
Private collection
In this pre-dawn scene, a cluster of autumn flowers sinks into an indigo haze.This work goes beyond the straightforward naturalistic realism of the early modern period and serves as a harbinger of the more atmospheric realism of modern Japanese painting. 【On view 11/29 to 12/18】
Budai, Nandiana and Banana Plant
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, ca.1765-66
Private collection
This is a work of the artist’s early thirties before he took the name Ōkyo. Here, one can see both the influence of Watanabe Shikō, a painter he greatly admired, as well as the seeds of his later painting style.
Important Cultural Property
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, dated 1771-72
Chiso Co., Ltd.
This is a finished version of a preliminary sketch from nature. Of Ōkyo’s numerous sketches, it is an especially vivid example and demonstrates the artist’s outstanding power of observation and drawing skill. 【Displayed sections will be rotated】
Important Cultural Property
Seven Fortunes, Seven Misfortunes
By Maruyama Ōkyo
Japan Edo period, dated 1768
This illustrated scroll was produced with the goal of promoting good conduct and pious devotion to the Buddhas and gods by depicting the seven fortunes and seven misfortunes described in the Buddhist scriptures with palpable realism. The work holds an important place within Ōkyo’s oeuvre as it expresses the various aspects of nature and the human condition with a transcendent power of description. 【Displayed sections will be rotated】
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