“Nihonga” is the term used for Japanese-style paintings made using traditional art styles and techniques. The Yamatane Museum of Art in Shibuya which has been founded by Taneji Yamazaki exhibits excellent nihonga done by artists who are working in creative and contemporary directions. A total of 6 to 7 exhibitions are being held every year with particular emphasis on modern Japanese paintings.
The museum was founded by Taneji Yamazaki (founder of Yamatane Securities, now SMBC Friend Securities Co., Ltd.) in 1966 at the Kabutocho neighborhood of Nihonbashi, Tokyo. He donated several collections of Japanese paintings to the museum together with Tomiji Yamazaki, the ex-chairman of Yamatane Art Foundation. Part of the collection includes ancient Japanese calligraphy, “ukiyo-e” (pictures of the floating world), and oil paintings that emphasize modern Japanese paintings after the Meiji era. Most of the time, paintings come in 5 to 6 batches in a year according to varying themes which give visitors the chance to see as many artworks as possible. Since nihonga is easily affected by the environment and time, the museum does not display any permanent artworks.
In order to encourage and promote nihonga, the museum instituted the Yamatane Museum Art Award which was given from 1971 to 1997. This gave the museum a lot of attention which also inspired several nihonga artists. Only a few artists who showed new or not yet exhibited works were recommended and from them, one is given the chance to win the Grand Prize, while two for the Prize of Excellence. The screening is considered to be rigorous in order to challenge younger artists. The wide variety and superior level of collections have earned the museum a high reputation from experts. Some exhibits have actually been considered as part of the Important Cultural Properties in Japan such as those exhibited in 2007.
Other than exhibits, the museum is also offering fine art gifts made through the changing seasons in its museum shop. There’s also a cafe where you can enjoy local Japanese desserts such as wagashi which have also been inspired by the exhibitions in order to attract many visitors to the area.
Yamatane Museum of Art is continuously allowing people to communicate through art and provide information through museum experience and art exhibitions.
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