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Past Exhibitions
[Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
Views of Rome - Transition in Images and Media

[Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
Views of Rome - Transition in Images and Media

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 - Sunday, 20 January 2019
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
26 October, 30 November 2018 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
17 November 2018 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Mondays except 24 December 2018 and 14 January 2019.
Closed on28 December 2018-1 January 2019, 15 January.
Prints and Drawings Gallery, New Wing
Organized by
The National Museum of Western Art
Admission Fees
Adults 500 yen (400 yen), College students 250 yen (200 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.

Rome, richly layered with history back to ancient times, has been an object of yearning through the ages. But pictorial Rome, as we know it, did not come into being until the seventeenth century. From then on, as upheavals such as the Thirty Years' War abated and private travel became popular, images of the city began to circulate widely. Many young aristocrats of the day, especially the British, set off for the "cradle of civilization" to complete their cultural education. These travelers, and culturati who accompanied them in pursuit of knowledge and impressions, were said to have embarked on the "Grand Tour." The phenomenon created a demand that the Venetian-born architect and printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi, among others, sought to satisfy. Piranesi's Views of Rome series, begun around 1747 and continued through the remainder of his life, not only dramatically depicted ancient ruins and monumental edifices from later periods but also included representations of the people and customs of his time to perfectly harmonize the ideal with the everyday. The influence of his works was considerable, illustrated by the fact that in the nineteenth century when photography, the new reproductive medium, was on the rise and capturing views of Rome, Piranesi's prints served as the guide.

This exhibition brings together a total of 35 works: 17 items of painting, print, and craftwork from our collection and 18 photographic works owned by the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. Taking its cue from Piranesi's Views of Rome, and focusing on the transition of reproductive media used for the propagation of images, from prints to photography, the display aims to show how images of Rome have capitalized on their seventeenth-century inheritance down to the present day.

image: The Colosseum
Giovanni Battista Piranesi
The Colosseum
Views of Rome
etching and engraving on paper
The National Museum of Western Art

Exhibition Checklist (PDF file, about 899KB)PDF