Skip to main content

We use cookies and tags on our website to provide you with a better website experience, advertising based on your browsing habits, and to understand what our website is being used for, and for statistics and measurement purposes. By clicking ‘I Accept’, or clicking on our website, you agree to such purposes and the sharing of your data with our trusted partners.
For further information, please read Privacy Policy.

Past Exhibitions
[Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
Dream Analysis Depicted: Dreams Seen Awake / Real Worlds Seen Asleep

[Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
Dream Analysis Depicted: Dreams Seen Awake / Real Worlds Seen Asleep

image: Jason
Albrecht Dürer
The Dream of the Doctor
1498 engraving

Saturday 19 March - Sunday 12 June 2016
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays 9:30 am - 8:00 pm
(Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time)
Mondays except 21 March, 28 March and 2 May.
Closed on22 March.
Prints and Drawings Gallery, NMWA
Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art
Admission Fees
Adults 430 yen (220 yen), College students 130 yen (70 yen)
Numbers in parentheses indicate discount fees for groups of 20 or more.
Admission is free for Special Exhibition or Permanent Collection ticket holders.
Visitors aged 18 and under or 65 and older are admitted free of charge. Please show your ID upon entrance to confirm your age.
Disabled visitors admitted free of charge, with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.

The great German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer stated in the manuscript of his unfinished work Nourishment for Young Painters, “How often do I see great art in my sleep, but on waking cannot recall it; as soon as I awake, my memory forgets it.”

Dürer, known to have had dreams of apocalyptic floods in his late years, commented, “A good painter is inwardly full of figures.” He thus recognized that the countless image memories stored in the human brain were all the more actively used, and undergo rich variation, during sleep rather than during waking hours. This astonishing statement was made at the beginning of the 16th century, centuries before the 20th century rise of Surrealism.

Echoing these thoughts by Dürer, Western European artists of the pre-Renaissance often revealed their interest in dreams. They not only expressed these thoughts in words, they also depicted them in paintings and prints. Indeed, can’t these works be called “depicted dream analysis,” even though they long precede Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams (1900).

This small study exhibition drawn from the NMWA collection features works on the subject of dreams by artists ranging from Dürer and Giorgio Ghisi through such later and modern artists as Francisco de Goya, Max Klinger, Félix Bracquemond, and Odilon Redon. The exhibition further sheds light on such themes as Metamorphosis and the Temptation of St. Anthony as it explores the images of sleeping, night, unconscious desires and temptations found in Western European art.

image: The Supper at Emmaus
Max Klinger
《A Life》: Dreams
1884 etching

image: The Fortune Teller
Odilon Redon
《Tentation de Saint-Antoine》 (1st series): Et toutes sortes de bêtes effroyables surgissent
1888 lithograph and chine collè