Home » Exhibitions» Past Exhibitions

past Exhibitions

[Prints and Drawings Gallery]
Manuscripts from the Naitō Collection Ⅲ:
The Flower of Illumination. Chants to Heaven, Divine Reason

Dates:
Tuesday, 8 September - Sunday, 18 October 2020
Hours:
9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Fridays, Saturdays 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
13 - 17 October 9:30 am – 9:00 pm
Admission ends 30 mins. before closing time
Closed:
Mondays (except 21 September), 23 September.
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.
  • Free for high school students, under 18, seniors (65 and over), Campus Members. Please show your ID upon entrance.
  • Disabled visitors admitted free of charge, with one attendant. Please present your disability identification upon arrival.
flyer

(PDF file, about 1,273KB)

In Europe in the Middle Ages, when printing technology had not yet emerged, manuscripts supported the people’s faith and were an important medium to convey wisdom. People would copy texts in handwriting on parchment made by preparing the skin of an animal such as a sheep or a calf. As it took a massive length of time to produce such manuscripts, they were extreme luxuries, which only privileged people could afford. In order to please such people’s eyes, the breaks in the text or the margins on the page were sumptuously illuminated and continue to maintain unfaded brilliance to this day.

One person who was enchanted by the world of such illuminated manuscripts and has been collecting mainly individual leaves detached from books is Dr. NAITŌ Hiroshi (b. 1932), professor emeritus of the University of Tsukuba and Ibaraki Prefectural University of Health Sciences. Dr. Naitō kindly donated his precious collection to The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo in the spring of 2016, and since then, we have introduced The Naitō Collection in a series of three exhibitions. The current display is the third and final in this series and includes many particularly flamboyant and art historically significant works befitting the occasion.

One of the nuclei of the current show are the leaves originating in liturgical music manuscripts. The leaves recording the music for chants to Heaven are often large in format, and their large and flamboyant illuminations boast a splendor equivalent to small paintings. Another nucleus are the leaves originating in collections of canon law. Collections of canon law are books containing laws, mainly patristic documents, ecumenical council resolutions, and papal decrees, concerning organizational management of the Catholic Church or the faith and lifestyle of its followers. The annotations filling the entire space in the margins of these leaves are especially overwhelming. The dense lines of writing seem to narrate the zeal of the scholars endeavoring to reveal divine reason.

Some of the works included here were purchased with funds donated to The Western Art Foundation by Mr. NAGANUMA Akio. Endorsing Dr. Naitō’s wish to enrich examples of medieval Western art in the museums in Japan, Mr. Naganuma generously provided his support. We are most grateful to Dr. Naitō and Mr. Naganuma and would also like to thank all others concerned for their cooperation in organizing this exhibition.

Saint Paul with a Sword and a Book
Leaf from an Antiphonal: Saint Paul with a Sword and a Book in an Initial Q
Pisa, Italy
c. 1330-40
Colors, gold and ink on parchment
The National Museum of Western Art
Naitō Collection
A Pilgrim Appealing to a Bishop
Leaf from Decretum Gratiani: A Pilgrim Appealing to a Bishop
Toulouse, France
c. 1320
Colors, gold and ink on parchment
The National Museum of Western Art
Naitō Collection(Naganuma Fund)
David Playing the Psaltery with God Blessing
Leaf from a Liturgical Psalter: David Playing the Psaltery with God Blessing in an Initial B
Attributed to Don Simone Camaldolese
Florence, Italy
c. 1380
Colors, gold and ink on parchment
The National Museum of Western Art
Naitō Collection (Naganuma Fund)
King Arphaxad of the Medes
Leaf from the Breviary of Leonello d'Este: King Arphaxad of the Medes in an Initial A
Copied by Francesco da Codigoro, decorated by Giorgio d’Alemagna
Ferrara, Italy
1441-48
Colors, gold and ink on parchment
The National Museum of Western Art
Naitō Collection

Top

  • Current Exhibitions
  • Upcoming Exhibitions
  • Past Exhibitions