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Updated : 24/06/2002


"When in 1868 the School of Arts of the Imperial College of Engineering was established, marking a genuine beginning for modern art education, three instructors were invited to teach painting, sculpture, and architecture. All three of these instructors were Italian. I would like to consider their ways of thinking and artworks from the point of view of their relationship to the Japanese art tradition. At the School of Arts, copying was emphasized at the beginning of the program, whether it be a preparatory course or a more specialized one. This reminds one of the copying practices (funponshugi) in the training of painters of Japan's Kano school. The copying of model paintings in both the Imperial School of Arts and the Kano school both originate from academism. Needless to say, the Italian instructors of the Imperial School of Arts were all graduates themselves of the Academia in Italy. Japanese Woman can be counted among Ragusa's most outstanding works. Among the critiques of those Japanese artists who saw this painting, one finds statements that describe it as exquisite, as if it were about to issue forth words. This type of verisimilitude was what the Imperial School of Arts hoped for in inviting the Italian artists. Indeed, the Regulations of the School state, "...to supplement the shortcoming's of the art of our country, and to newly lecture upon and research the accurate copying of the truth..." However, one can already find this theory during the Edo period among Western-style artists.[...]"
to read the entire article, download the attached file (English or Italian)
Motoaki Kono
Download the entire article (English or Italian): Some Italian Imperial.doc   Artisti Italiani invitati.doc

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