To celebrate Spring and the centenary donation of 3000 cherry blossom trees to Washington DC from Tokyo, the city is planning a five week celebration that ‘will unify and electrify the city, the nation, and the world’
As part of this celebration, the National Gallery of Art is host to a truly magnificent exhibition of the paintings of Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800). Belonging to the Imperial Household Collection, this is the first time the works have been seen outside of Japan. I was fortunate to see these paintings in an exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum in 2009 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Emperor’s enthronement. Although familiar with Jakuchu’s work, I cannot describe the breathtaking immediacy of the works, the vigour of their colour and detail and the authority conveyed by their mastery and size. A review in the New York Times goes some way to capturing this: ‘Their vividness conveys a state of attentiveness and responsiveness to which ordinary consciousness, in its distraction and world-weary fatigue, rarely rises.’ (Do you wish some of our home critics rose to this level of elegant prose and enthusiasm?)
If you need an excuse besides the high Australian dollar to go the USA this is it!