Albums, Gafu, and Exhibitions. Painting and Posterity in Late Eighteenth Century Kyoto

This IIAS/Leiden University masterclass is intended for (BA/MA/PhD) students of Asian arts, archaeology, history, languages and cultures as well as teachers and others with a special interest in the topic. 

Following the Tenmei Fire in 1788 late eighteenth-century, Kyoto witnessed several new phenomena in the field of painting, which collectively may have been consequences of the losses and resulting opportunities of the great conflagration.

This masterclass will investigate three distinct yet closely related practices that emerged in the 1790s and which would flourish in the early nineteenth century:
1. the invention of public exhibitions of painting and calligraphy by living artists;
2. the publication of books dedicated to the work of living or recently deceased painters; and
3. the creation of albums that amassed painting and calligraphy by prominent living practitioners of these arts.

Through an examination of these artistic practices it is hoped that we may both reconsider ideas about competition and collaboration amongst distinct schools or workshops and discover, more broadly, ways in which artists in late eighteenth-century Japan promoted their work.

Porf. Matthew McKelway specializes in the history of Japanese painting. His studies initially focused on urban representation in screen paintings of Kyoto (rakuchū rakugai zu) and the development of genre painting in early modern Japan, but have extended to Kano school painting, Rimpa, and individualist painters in eighteenth-century Kyoto. In his publications he has sought to understand Japanese paintings according to the physical and cultural contexts of their creators in order to discover the motivations, whether political, personal, literary, or philosophical, that drove them to make pictures in particular ways.

Following the masterclass, on Saturday 20 October 2018, McKelway will also be giving the Rijksmuseum/IIAS Annual Lecture at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


15:00-15:45 Lecture by prof. McKelway
15:45-16:00 Coffee/tea break
16:00-16:30 Lecture by prof. McKelway
16:30-17:00 Q&A

Registration and Admission
This masterclass is intended for students of Asian arts, archaeology, history, languages and cultures (BA, MA, PhD levels), teachers and others interested. Admission is by confirmed registration only.

Please send an email to Heleen van der Minne at h.m.van.der.minne@iias.nl . In case of overbooking, students will get priority access. Those who have registered receive an information package (in pdf) with some relevant readings for the masterclass.