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Stefano Della Bella
《Carlo Cantù called il Buffeto》
1646
National Museum of Western Art

  • [Prints and Drawings Exhibition]
  • Outsiders
  • 10 December 2010 – 13 February 2011
  • Venue: Prints and Drawings Gallery, NMWA

    Organizer: National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Looking back over the history of art in the west, we can see images of outsiders, including all manner of people who differed from the norm. These people were somehow out of the ordinary, whether they were foreigners or other people with a different appearance, different actions or different words. These people were in the minority, often scorned, sometimes the object of curiosity, and at times, their lives were depicted as the romantic fantasies of the west. These outsiders of society can thus teach us about the gaze of the social majority of their day.

This small exhibition presents a selection of prints from the NMWA collections revealing how the westerners of the past viewed these outsiders. The works range from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with the majority from the 17th century. During this period, the people of the west advanced beyond their own continent to the Americas and to Asia and in these far-flung places they encountered all manner of outsiders. At the same time, the west was arranging itself in what would become the modern nation states of today, and were thus establishing their own social hierarchies at home. The social upheaval resulted in tangibly greater number of outsiders in their own countries. In particular, the French print artist Jacques Callot used his acute observation skills to present vivid images of these figures. The various outsiders displayed in this exhibition will provide viewers with a feel for the times and societies in which they lived.

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