Workshop of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: NAGASAWA Rosetsu before his Sojourn in Nanki (Kii Province)
On June 30 (Tue.), the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems invited Mr. Matthew Mckelway, professor at Columbia University, and held a workshop titled “NAGASAWA Rosetsu before his Sojourn in Nanki (Kii Province): His Relations with Temples of the Zen Sect”.
Rosetsu Nagasawa (1754～99) is a painter who was active in the mid-Edo period. Substituting for his master Okyo Maruyama, Rosetsu visited several temples of the Zen sect in the southern Kii Province (Nanki) from 1786 to 1787. Rosetsu is known as having drawn a large number of sliding panel paintings during his sojourn of a few months. His experience in Nanki gave him significant momentum to obtain his own painting style. However, there are quite a few unclear points over Rosetsu’s movements and painting education before his sojourn in Nanki.
Based on a detailed analysis of a sanja (person who appreciates the work and writes an appraisal of it) of Rosetsu’s works currently possessed in overseas countries and his collaborative works, among other materials, Mr. Mckelway pointed out that Rosetsu had had close relations with Zen monks at Myoshin-ji temple such as Shikyo Eryo and Shishin Sogin since before his sojourn in Nanki. By examining the motifs of Rosetsu’s sliding panel paintings at temples in Nanki with this fact in mind, Mr. Mckelway also pointed out the possibility that Rosetsu was inspired by a sliding panel painting at Myoshin-ji temple. Given that the current research on Rosetsu lacks works before his sojourn in Nanki, Mr. Mckelway offered a very significant and attractive theory. After his presentation, there was an active exchange of views on Rosetsu’s works in overseas countries introduced by Mr. Mckelway. Such a presentation about works possessed in overseas countries provided important information to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and we expect further progress in the research in the future.