Caravaggio exhibition currently at the National Museum of Western Art

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Japan and Italy, a large exhibition introducing Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio and related works is on display in the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo’s Ueno Park until 12th June 2016.

The Italian Consulate in Japan is planning a large number of friendship events this year, and the jewel in the crown is the Caravaggio exhibition at the National Museum of Western Art.

In a press release on 14th January, Domenico Giorgi, the Italian ambassador to Japan, introduced the event as “the world’s largest exhibition”. It features 10 Caravaggio works owned by Italian art galleries. Of the existing works of art by this genius, who left this world at just 38 years old, only around 60 per cent are said to be confirmed as authentic. It is no exaggeration to say that encountering 10 of these paintings in a single location is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world.

The works are structured around themes based on Caravaggio’s motifs and, in addition to his work, more than 50 works by his followers – the Caravaggisti – based on these themes are also displayed. The themes include ‘traditions’, ‘the five senses’, ‘light’ and ‘decapitation’, and the works are displayed in such a way as to provide visitors a multi-faceted insight into the influence that Caravaggio’s work had on 17th-century Western art.

For the first time in 400 years, Mary Magdalene in Ecstasy is displayed! It was lost for many years and was discovered hidden in a private collection in 2014. As there are many forgeries of Caravaggio’s work, its authenticity was in doubt, but as a result of scrupulous research and analysis of the artistic characteristics, it was found to be an original Caravaggio.

Packed with artworks that are world-first and Japan-first exhibits, the Caravaggio exhibition is on until 12th June. Don’t miss it!

National Museum of Western Art [Ueno Park, Tokyo]
Address: 7-7 Ueno Park, Taito, Tokyo 110-0007
Opening hours: 9:30am – 5:30pm (Fridays 9:30am – 8pm); admission ends 30 minutes before closing time
Closed: Mondays (note: the museum is open on 21 March (Monday), 28 March (Monday) and 2 May (Monday) and is closed on 22 March (Tuesday))

Credit: Kaoru Omiya


Credit: Kaoru Omiya


Credit: Kaoru Omiya


Credit: Kaoru Omiya


Credit: Kaoru Omiya

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