“Photos Taken of Kuroda Seiki II” Featured and Exhibited in Kuroda Memorial Hall

 Nowadays everyone easily uses a camera and takes pictures. But in the days when photography such as adjustment of focus, exposure, development was entirely left to manual operations, photographs were very valuable: Those photo data became clues to examining the corresponding age, including the background behind the photograph.
 In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Kaneko Mitsuo, a descendant of Kuroda Seiki’s wife Teruko, donated the photos and mementos of Kuroda Seiki that Mr. Kaneko had kept stored to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The Institute’s Department of Research Programming investigated and arranged the logs of these materials and relevant items, and held an exhibition entitled “Photos Taken of Kuroda Seiki” in the Kuroda Memorial Hall last year. This project revealed the Kuroda image in a public place and included images such as a large-sized portrait of Kuroda Seiki in a court dress taken by Ogawa Kazumasa, an Imperial art specialist.
 This year, “Photos Taken of Kuroda Seiki II” was held in the Kuroda Memorial Hall from March 19 (Thu) to July 9 (Thu), with themes including “family portraits” and “painter’s atelier” for the second time. Kuroda painted the woman who later became his wife in Lakeside, and he painted his family as models in many works. In addition to the portraits of his natural father, adoptive father, and mother, he used models; his niece Kimiko appeared in Sunlight shone through trees, another niece appeared in Yukiko, 11 year-old girl, his wife Teruko in Portrait of a woman (charcoal/paper, 1898) and Portrait of a woman (oil painting/canvas, 1911-1912). When comparing the photos of these people and the pictures painted by Kuroda, we find that the works were not simply portraits of which main purpose is resemblance, as the title Lakeside implies, but they also provide an opportunity to consider reproducibility and fictitiousness in paintings and photos.
 The photos focus on the painter in his atelier and his concentration while he was producing the works. From the work hanging in the atelier we can understand the painter’s interests, and from the photos with models we can also grasp his relationship with them.
 To prevent the originals of these photo materials from deteriorating by exhibition, pictures with the original texture preserved and reproduced to full-size photographs are exhibited. This demonstrates the results obtained by research and development of digital image formation technology that can conserve photo data and show it to the public. We will continue to promote the studying of Kuroda Seiki while considering the conservation of the data itself, and plan to exhibit/release the results in Kuroda Memorial Hall.

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