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Current Exhibitions

[Prints and Drawings Gallery]
Gothic Manuscripts from the Naito Collection:
Microcosms of Images Imbedded in Words, Images Surpassing Words

Dates:
Saturday, 19 October 2019 – Sunday, 26 January 2020
Hours:
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays, Saturdays, 31 October and 3 November 9:30 am – 8:00 pm
30 November 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
25 October, 29 November and 27 December 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Closed:
Mondays except 4 November 2019 and 13 January 2020.
Closed on 5 November, 28 December 2019 – 1 January 2020, 14 January.
Venue:
Prints and Drawings Gallery, New Wing
Organized by:
The National Museum of Western Art
With the cooperation of:
The Western Art Foundation
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.
*On the second and the fourth Saturdays of each month, Friday and Saturday evenings from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, October 22, and November 3, admission to the Permanent Collection Galleries is free.
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Handwritten manuscripts were standard in the Christian world of the European Middle Ages, prior to the introduction of printing. These manuscripts preserved and transported words. They were produced primarily at monasteries and in essence were the specially privileged media responsible for both faith and knowledge. Medieval manuscripts, written on animal skin, or vellum, include ingenious illustrations, whether in the space around the initial letter of a text or the blank space around the text. These areas were often filled with richly decorative designs. These small flat spaces became the most important venue for medieval painting arts, by no means inferior to the murals or panel paintings of the day.

Dr. Hiroshi Naito, a doctor specializing in poisons and Professor Emeritus at University of Tsukuba and Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences, is one of the Japanese particularly fascinated in medieval illuminated manuscripts. He collected examples of these manuscripts, primarily in single-leaf form over several decades, and in 2016 donated his entire collection of approximately 150 works to the NMWA. His donation came from his concern that Japanese museums are lacking in European medieval art examples. Since the gift the NMWA has worked with external specialists to survey the donated works, which have greatly expanded the range of the NMWA collection. With the approval of Dr. Naito, Mr. Akio Naganuma generously donated funds, which combined with funds from the Western Art Foundation, have been used to collect more manuscript leaves.

This exhibition presents the Naito Collection in its entirety, the first such display of these works. These manuscript leaves span diverse production regions and dates, with the core consisting of 13th century and later Gothic manuscripts. The illuminated manuscripts from this period imbed pictures inside the words, creating tales and spaces, extending out into the margins where they either interpret the texts or deviate from them. The Naito Collection works presenting one facet of such Gothic manuscript microcosms will be displayed alongside facsimiles of other manuscripts lent by the University Library of the Tokyo University of the Arts.

Leaf from a Latin Psalter: Psalm 25 (Initial I; a man standing in a church and a dragon)

Leaf from a Latin Bible: Deuteronomy (Initial A), Joshua, prologue (Initial T)

Leaf from a Latin Psalter: Psalm 25 (Initial I; a man standing in a church and a dragon)
Meuse Valley or Flanders, 1250-60
Ink, gold and coloring on parchment,
Donated by Dr. Hiroshi Naito.

Leaf from a Latin Bible: Joshua, chap 1 (Initial E/God Speaking to Joshua)
Lorraine (Metz ?), c. 1310-20
Ink, gold and coloring on parchment
Donated by Dr. Hiroshi Naito.

Leaf from a Latin Bible from Saint-Albans Abbey, Psalm 37, 38

Leaf from a Latin Bible from Saint-Albans Abbey: Psalm 27 (Initial A)

Leaf from a Latin Bible from Saint-Albans Abbey, Psalm 37, 38 (Initials D, D; King David; bar borders and bas-de-page with birds)
Paris, the second quarter of 14th century
Ink, gold and coloring on parchment
Donated by Dr. Hiroshi Naito.

Leaf from a Latin Bible from Saint-Albans Abbey: Psalm 27 (Initial A), a fragment cut off from the other folio and patched on the leaf (“Lion sitting on grass”)
Paris, the second quarter of 14th century
Ink, gold and coloring on parchment
Donated by Dr. Hiroshi Naito.

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