As part of our opening celebration for “Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection” (February 14–July 26, 2020), Timon Screech, professor of the history of art at SOAS University of London, presents the lecture “Into the Kaleidoscope: Painting in Edo Japan.” Curator Rachel Saunders offers a brief introduction to the exhibition before the lecture.
Japanese art of the early modern Edo period (1615–1868) is spectacularly diverse, astonishing for both its quality and quantity. Had a person from the era been asked to account for this efflorescence, how would they have explained it? This lecture will address the circumstances that allowed such proliferation to occur and how it was perceived using visual materials, diaries, and critiques to re-create an “art mentality” for the age.
“Painting Edo”, the largest exhibition ever presented at the Harvard Art Museums, offers a window onto the supremely rich visual culture of Japan’s early modern era. Selected from the unparalleled collection of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg, the more than 120 works in the exhibition connect visitors with a seminal moment in the history of Japan, as the country settled into an era of peace under the warrior government of the shoguns and opened its doors to greater engagement with the outside world.
Support for the lecture is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities. This project was made possible by the Robert H. Ellsworth Bequest to the Harvard Art Museums, the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the Thierry Porté Director’s Discretionary Fund for Japanese Art, and the Japan Foundation. The catalogue was funded by the Harvard Art Museums Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund as well as Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund for Art and Architecture..
Thursday, February 13, 2020; Menschel Hall, Harvard Art Museums