Japanese art exhibitions in Spain in celebration of 400 years of Spanish-Japanese friendship relations

Madrid Japonisme exhThis year it is commemorated that 400 years ago, in October 1613, the Keichō embassy left Japan for a diplomatic mission to Europe. This embassy, led by Hasekura Tsunenaga, would arrive in Spain in October 1614. In celebration of the 400th anniversary of this mission, many cultural events are  being organized in Spain, including exhibitions dedicated to Japanese art and Japonisme.

In Madrid one can visit Japanese Prints in the Museo del Prado. The collection of Madrid’s famous Prado museum holds prints by woodblock artists as Shunshō, Utamaro, Eizan, Toyokuni, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. Up to 6 October 2013.

Also in Madrid is the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas where Nanban lacquer is on display: Nanban: Japan remained in Spain. 400 years after the Keichō Embassy. The exhibition shows Nanban objects from Spanish collections and those have not been publicly exhibited before. Works from Nueva España (Mexico) that have been influenced by Nanban art, are also among the exhibited works. Curator is dr. Yayoi Kawamura, a well known specialist in Japanese export art. Until 29 September 2013.

Madrid Japonism exh 2Japonism is the topic of a big exhibition in the CaixaForum in Barcelona, the first of its kind in Spain. Japonism. The Fascination with Japanese Art features more than 300 works and pays attention to Spanish Japonism in general and Catalonian Japonism in particular. The exhibition opens with an introduction on the earliest Spanish-Japanese relations from 1548-1624 and also addresses the Japanese presence at the Barcelona Universal Exhibition of 1888.
The exhibition is curated by Ricard Bru with whom I am currently collaborating to bring his project on erotic Japonism into print (scheduled for publication end 2013). The exhibition runs up to 15 September 2013.

For a full overview of the events in 2013, see the 400 years Spain-Japan website and the blog by Ricard Bru, Japanese embassies in Europe and Nanban art.