Matthew Larking

For Matthew Larking's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

May 19, 2015

Seeing beyond Jiro Takamatsu's shadows

“Jiro Takamatsu: Trajectory of Work” is taxonomic, breaking down everything in the artist’s oeuvre into relatively neat successions of projects and including his paintings and sculptures, copious sketches and the marginalia. Even the catalog seemingly calls for a scientific approach, this exhibition being the ...

Diversity saved the Kano school

Apr 21, 2015

Diversity saved the Kano school

Kyoto National Museum’s “Kano Painters of the Momoyama Period: Eitoku’s Legacy” is the follow up exhibition to the 2007 “Kano Eitoku, Momoyama Painter Extraordinaire” and focuses on Eitoku’s successors who produced work during the period 1596-1615. The current year marks the 400th anniversary of ...

Nihonga didn't ignore the West

Feb 26, 2015

Nihonga didn't ignore the West

From the early 1880s, painting in Japan became bisected. Yōga was used to categorize works in oils that were inspired by European painting movements and nihonga became the umbrella term for a whole array of earlier Japanese painting traditions that were later modernized. The ...

Art is long, when life can be short

Jan 29, 2015

Art is long, when life can be short

Given Japan’s continual seismic activity, what happened at 5:46 a.m. on Jan. 17, 1995, was unavoidable. The devastation and loss of life that occurred with the magnitude 7.3 quake in Kansai became a yardstick only now surpassed by the Great East Japan Earthquake of ...

Where Buddhism and Shintoism meet

Jan 22, 2015

Where Buddhism and Shintoism meet

Works from the Tendai Buddhist Gakuenji temple in Shimane Prefecture form the feature exhibition of Kyoto National Museum’s New Year’s show. Tradition tells that the priest Chishun established Gakuenji around the time of the Empress Suiko (554-628) though centuries passed before it was first ...

A revue of Japan's femininity

Sep 4, 2014

A revue of Japan's femininity

Ichizo Kobayashi (1873-1957) was the founder of the West Japan Hankyu train line and department store in Osaka’s central Umeda district. Arguably his most significant artistic contribution was the establishment of the Takarazuka Music School in 1913, which combined a modern education with the ...

Daigoji Temple celebrates its collection

Aug 7, 2014

Daigoji Temple celebrates its collection

World Heritage Site, Daigoji Temple, was founded on the summit of Mount Kasatori in southeastern Kyoto when the monk Rigen Daishi Shobo (832-909) is said to have discovered a spring from which flowed the “ultimate taste, representing the highest state of Buddhist wisdom.” From ...

Lacquerware's overseas journey into the arts

Jul 31, 2014

Lacquerware's overseas journey into the arts

Rejuvenating the traditional lacquer industry was done by emulating international exposition models, and they sold well. At the 1873 Vienna International Exhibition, lacquer by Zeshin Shibata and Taishin Ikeda received progress medals.

Balthus' renaissance of Realism

Jul 24, 2014

Balthus' renaissance of Realism

Paris-born Balthus Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001) is considered by some to be comparable to Picasso, though it was Picasso who said that Balthus was the "last great painter of the 20th century." From Picasso's Cubism onward, painting no longer needed to mirror the world ...