Gold in Japanese Paintings, and What It Can Tell Us

Unkoku Tōgan, Landscape, Muromachi or Momoyama Period, 16th century. Ink, gold, and tint on paper. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.: Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1907.134

Frank Feltens
Assistant Curator, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 6:00–7:00 pm

612 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University

Gold has the potential to unveil fascinating secrets about works of art. At the example of screens by the 16th-century Unkoku School at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, this lecture examines the changing perceptions of gold in late medieval and early modern Japanese painting. In the process, we will see how the aesthetic of paintings shifted over time, and how it sometimes departed from the original intention of the painter.