/

FUN DAY

Ueno’s Western art museum opens its doors

by Chiho Iuchi

The venerable National Museum of Western Art in Ueno Park, Tokyo will hold its first-ever “fun day” on May 12 and 13, during which the museum’s permanent exhibition will be open to everybody — adults and children — for free. (Entrance to the permanent exhibition is usually 420 yen.)

The museum was established in 1959 around the core collection of wealthy politician-turned-businessman Kojiro Matsukata (1865-1950). It includes religiously themed works from the pre-Modern era; paintings from the 18th-20th century by French artists such as Delacroix, Cezanne, Monet, Gauguin, Miro and Dubuffet; sculptures by Rodin; and a variety of prints, including those made from copperplate engravings by Renaissance Period artist Albrecht Durer.

The museum is also organizing several free programs as part of Fun Day 2007, including a 40-minute guided tour of highlights of the permanent exhibition; a house tour of the museum’s main building designed by French architect Le Corbusier; art-themed quizzes for children (and adults!); and a 50-minute demonstration of the copperplate engraving process used by the likes of Durer.

The museum’s opening hours are 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The National Museum of Western Art is located in Ueno Park, a short walk from JR Ueno Station’s Park Exit. Reservations are not required. For more information, call (03) 5777-8600 (Hello Dial) or visit www.nmwa.go.jp (Japanese only).