Layers of invention

There is much deception uncovered in the Sackler's "Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered.”  There is the question of whether the show's three central paintings are really by Kitagawa Utamaro, famous mostly for his ukiyo-e prints.  For that matter, was Utamaro himself the 17th-century Don Juan of the pleasure quarters that his marketers made him out to be?  And, … Continue reading Layers of invention

Samurai beauty

If anyone knew how to express both pageantry and lethality it was the Edo period Samurai  -- as a show at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, amply demonstrates.  The headline the WSJ gave my review says it all: "Dressed to Kill in Peacetime." Much of their fearsome beauty is due to the textures and rhythm of … Continue reading Samurai beauty