The weather in London is beautiful at the moment, and spring is truly here! There are so many exhibitions at galleries and museums across the UK right now, so here are a few of our recommendations for those focussing on Japanese art and culture:
Kyōsai: The Israel Goldman Collection – The Royal Academy of Arts, London
Master painter Kawanabe Kyōsai was known for his witty and imaginative style. A style that still influences tattoo art and Manga to this day. Whilst artist such as Hokusai and Hiroshige gained far more acclaim for their work, Kyōsai is now admired for his ability to blend traditional style with pop-culture.
Kunichika: Japanese Prints – The Lady Lever Art Gallery, Wirral
One of the most influential print makers of the 19th century, Kunichika embraced modernity and his prints often portrayed social and political changes in Japan at that time. This is the first time that an exhibition of Kunichika’s work will be displayed outside of Japan.
Japan: Courts and Culture – The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
This exhibition in London’s Buckingham Palace brings together over 300 years’ worth of Japanese art, ceramics, textiles, and more belonging to the Royal Family. Many of the pieces originate from the Japanese Imperial Family and have been given as diplomatic gifts to the British Monarch, from King James I to Queen Elizabeth II.
Hokusai’s Great Wave: Reflections of Japan – Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum
Hokusai is arguably Japan’s most well-known artist. Known for his ukiyo-e woodblock prints, most notably his series ‘Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji’. This exhibition features many of his prints as well as Samurai armour from the Museum’s Worcestershire collection. You can also see Hokusai’s most famous piece ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, often regarded as the single most famous piece of Japanese art.
If you can’t make it to any of these exhibitions, many of the UK’s galleries and museums have fantastic permanent collections of Japanese art, like the British Museum (London), Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), National Museum of Scotland (Edinburgh), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), and many others. Even better, they’re free to visit!
Do share with us your favourite place to see Japanese art!