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The Wedding Dance Pieter Bruegel the Elder
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The Wedding Dance (30.374) — Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Sesshu (1420-1506), Japan's Most Famous Zen Monk-Painter

Tuesday, May 13, 2008 |6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

  • For Adults

6:30-7:30 PM, DIA Lecture Hall
Members Only Reception to Follow in Kresge Court

Dr. Yukio Lippit
Assistant Professor of Japanese Art, Harvard University

Dr. Lippit will introduce the medieval Japanese monk-painter, Sesshu Toyo (1420-1506), and explore his artistry through a careful analysis of Splashed Ink Landscape (1495), one of his most renowned works. Although Splashed Ink Landscape has been understood in the modern era as a quintessentially Zen painting, its formal features have little, if anything, to do with the tenets of Zen Buddhism. Rather, they are derived from a long tradition of Sino-Japanese monochrome ink painting that exploits the aesthetic effects of accidental (splashy) ink work. The splashed ink landscape became a signature subject of Sesshu and his followers.

A note on the speaker:
Yukio Lippit is Assistant Professor of Japanese Art at Harvard University. He recently co-curated the exhibition Awakenings: Zen Figure Painting in Medieval Japan (Japan Society Gallery, New York 2007) and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. He is presently completing a book on the Kano school of professional painters in Japan. Lippit has held fellowships at the National Gallery of Art and the Getty Foundation, and has published various articles on Zen portraiture, the Genji Scrolls, and the rhetoric of the drunken painter in Japanese literati painting.