There’s a charming exhibition looking at Japan’s changing seasons and how artists have responded to them at the Japanese Embassy at the moment.

Extract from Snow Covered Shirakawa-go, Kitaoka Fumio

I successfully walked around the exhibition backwards, having a natural tendency towards walking clockwise around a room — you want to walk anti-clockwise if you want, mainly as the introductions are on that side of the room.

The exhibition is broken into the seasons, and although it’s a mix of Japanese artists on display, a large percentage are by Kitaoka Fumio. I was particularly taken by Late Autumn in Kisoji with its bold colours in a close up landscape, and the Plains of Mount Aso reminded me personally strongly of JRR Tolkien’s watercolours of Middle Earth. Early Summer Rain by Utagawa Kunisada looks wet, with the stripes on the painting showing the heavy downpour that brings brief respite from Japan’s hot summers.

More classically what we might expect Japanese art to look like, there are a number of domestic scenes by Katsushika Hokusai, the artist much more famous for the Great Wave off Kanagawa which is so instantly recognised.

No winter painting can miss out the village of Shirakawa-go, said to be the prettiest winter landscape in Japan. It’s a village so pretty in the snow that they even have an observation deck to see it from a nearby hill.

The exhibition is open until “late March 2023”, an exact date is not known, so if you want to go, I’d suggest going in the next couple of weeks.

Entry is via the Japanese Embassy’s entrance at 101 Piccadilly, through the usual security sweep, and you also need to bring photographic ID with you.

Photography isn’t permitted inside the Embassy.

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2 comments
  1. Edward Moore says:

    A sign outside says open Monday – Friday 10AM – 5PM

  2. Chris Rogers says:

    “walk anti-clockwise if you want, mainly as the introductions are on that side of the room”; interesting. To access the recent Japanese-themed exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, one entered through the rght-hand door once inside and upstairs, end exited through the left-hand one – the exact opposite route to the one I have always taken there over the years.

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