Phantom Nude Painting “Sleep” Released for the First Time in 120 Years The Work of Kiyoteru Kuroda’s Master November 14 at 6:45 AM
A work called Sleep depicting a by a French painter named Kiyoteru Kuroda, who was active from the Meiji to Taisho era and was called the father of modern Western-style painting, will be exhibited for the first time in 120 years at an exhibition that begins at a museum in Kanagawa Prefecture from the 14th. The works that Kuroda completed with “Sleep” as a reference were also exhibited, and you can read how Kuroda was seeking to be accepted by Japan as an expression of a work depicting a nude who was regarded as a “spring painting” at the time and was criticized as immoral.
Sleep is the work of French painter Rafael Collan, who studied while studying in France, and depicts a lying in a meadow.
Since it was exhibited at the Paris Expo in 1900, it has been said to be a visionary work, but four years ago, a Japanese curator confirmed his whereabouts in France and will be exhibited for the first time in 120 years at an exhibition held at the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture from the 14th.
At the venue, a work called “Nobe” that Kuroda is said to have painted with reference to “sleep” is displayed next to each other, allowing you to compare and compare works.
The composition is almost the same, but in “Sleep” a woman with white skin sleeps soundly while showing her side defenselessly, giving the impression that she is peeking into a private and intimate space, whereas “Nobe” clearly opens her eyes and turns her eyes to the flower with her gaze on her left hand.
In Japan from the 19th century to the 20th century, paintings depicting women’s nudity were regarded as “spring paintings” and criticized as immoral, but Kuroda was looking for expressions that would be accepted by Japan.
Ms. Nana Yamasa, curator of the Pola Museum of Art, who organized the exhibition, said, By comparing the two works, we can see that Kuroda did not follow the Western image of a as it is, but rather searched for the conditions of Japan’s unique nude image and made fine ingenuity.
This exhibition “Connections” is held from November 14th to April 4th next year at the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture.
What is Kiyoteru Kuroda?
Kiyoteru Kuroda is a painter who was active from the Meiji to Taisho periods, and is called the “father of modern Western painting” because he established a style of Japanese Western-style painting that took in bright sunlight.
After studying in France at the age of 17, he studied impressionist expression under Rafael Koran, and after returning to Japan in Meiji 26, he led the Japanese Western-style painting world by starting an art group and teaching at an art school.
Kuroda and the Nude Painting Controversy
After returning from France in 1868, Kuroda presented paintings depicting one after another in an attempt to take root in Japan, one of the most important subjects of Western art.
However, in Meiji 28, Chosho, who depicted a 妝 in front of a mirror, was criticized as disturbing manners and customs.
The satire depicting the Japanese at the exhibition depicts an old man with a gaping mouth, a boy eagerly sketching, a woman hiding her face, and a man staring intently at her butt.
In addition, in the Statue, which depicts a sitting down, which was released in Meiji 34, public opinion was caused by the police wearing cloth over the picture on display and hiding her lower body, which is called the lumbar incident.
Based on Kuroda’s master Raphael Koran’s Sleep, Nobe, which he devised, was an opportunity for such a expression to be accepted in Japan.
Kuroda’s ingenuity in Nobe
Kiyoteru Kuroda created Nobe with reference to his master Raphael Collan’s “Sleep.”
Rika Mitani, a professor at The Women’s Art University who is well-knowledgeed in art history, says that the comparison of the two works shows Kuroda’s repeated search for naked women’s expression in Japan.
In the two works, the composition of a with only her upper body lying on the meadow is almost the same, but in Sleep a woman sleeps soundly while showing her defenseless side, giving the impression that she is peeking into a private and intimate space, while Nobe is clearly opened and her gaze is turned to the flower on her left hand.
In addition, “Sleep” is covered with “fur” that improves sensuality with tactile stimulation often depicted in France, but in “Nobe” women put their right hand on a red cloth around their waists.
In addition, “Sleep” emphasizes the white skin of Westerners, but “Nobe” is mixed with yellow and brown in the color of the skin, and it can be seen that it is trying to draw a Japanese.
It is thought that Kuroda might have established the expression of the which overcomes the social common sense at that time of nakedness and immorality by seeing the painting which did not dare to draw the lower body, and having the story and the lyricity without emphasizing the body.
Prof. Mitani said, The difference in the works can read the turning point of the change in the expression of in Japan. “Sleep” is a very important work for verifying Modern Japanese painting and nude expression, and I hope that research will progress in the future.”