Matthew McKelway - Takeo and Itsuko Atsumi Professor of Japanese Art History, Columbia University
Nanban byōbu, screen paintings depicting the arrivals of Europeans in late 16th - early 17th century Japan, constitute one of the most numerous genres of Japanese painting. Long admired for their visual accounts of the brief encounter between Japan and Europe in the age of exploration, Nanban screens have opened avenues of research for the study of genre painting, the Momoyama period, and the history of European maritime exploration and missionary activity in East Asia. This lecture will approach Nanban screens from the perspective of the history of early modern Japanese painting, addressing questions of artistic competition and collaboration and the thematic adjustments that underlay what these works of art say about their time and audience.
Matthew McKelway specializes in the history of late medieval and early modern Japanese painting. His research on urban representation in rakuchū rakugai zu (screen paintings of Kyoto) has led more broadly to interests in the development of early modern genre painting in depictions of famous places, the early Kabuki theater, and recently Nanban screens. His studies of Kano school fan paintings, individualist painters in 18th century Kyoto, Rimpa painting, and an ongoing study of the painter Nagasawa Rosetsu have explored questions of workshop practices, the materiality and techniques of painting, Sinophilia, and Zen in early modern Japanese art. Professor McKelway also serves as the Director of the Mary Griggs Burke Center for Japanese Art and currently as the Chair of Art Humanities at Columbia University.