“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.