Past Exhibitions

The Genius of Kano Motonobu: Wall and Door Paintings from Reiun-in Temple
June 13, 2017 - July 23, 2017

The abbot's chambers of Reiun-in Temple, a sub-temple of Myōshin-ji, were given a major renovation in 1543 in preparation for a visit by Emperor Go-Nara. Apparently this visit occurred because the Emperor was a devout believer in the teachings of Daikyū Sōkyū, the abbot (chief priest) of Reiun-in. Daikyū commissioned his friend Kanō Motonobu (second-generation master of the Kanō School, 1477-1559) and his associates to execute wall and door paintings, probably also taking into consideration that the Emperor was a great admirer of Motonobu's work, known to have summoned him to the Imperial Palace to paint folding screens.

There were 49 wall and door paintings in all, which today are displayed in hanging scroll form. The three painting styles of varying looseness that Motonobu developed were contrasted to marvelous effect in different rooms of the chambers, and there is great variation in the handling of birds and flowers, landscapes, and human figures. In this room, viewers are invited to immerse themselves in the splendid elegance of the world Kanō Motonobu depicted.

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