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ETH - Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich
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Published: 19.04.2007, 06:00
Modified: 18.04.2007, 23:46
Exhibition in the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
ETH Zurich prints and drawings in Japan

(per) The ETH Zurich Collection of Prints and Drawings is making a major appearance in Japan at present: the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo is currently exhibiting 110 Italian Renaissance prints and drawings, 100 of them from the important ETH Zurich Collection.

The exhibition was opened on 6 March 2007 in the presence of the Swiss ambassador and the cultural attaché, among others. So far about 500 visitors a day have admired the prints and drawings from the ETH Zurich Collection. The exhibition remains on view until 6 May 2007.

Renaissance art is popular in Japan

The display is a success for Michael Matile, Curator of the Collection of Prints and Drawings. He says this is a big occasion for an exhibition of prints and drawings because black and white art is something “very personal”. On the other hand the Japanese find Italian Renaissance art very appealing and have their own tradition of black and white art. The season is also very auspicious at present. The cherry trees are blossoming in Japan, and the Ueno Park around the museum built by Le Corbusier is famous for this spectacle of nature.

The Japanese found out about the treasures of the ETH Zurich Collection of Prints and Drawings through Matile’s catalogue “Early Italian Prints and Drawings 1460-1530” published in 1998. They then asked for a loan of the works. Together with his Japanese colleague, the curator Shinsuke Watanabe, Matile made a selection for the exhibition in Tokyo. The aim was to give a broad overview of the creative activity of the Italian Renaissance graphic artists. The works on loan also contain numerous rare and valuable pieces including a copperplate engraving by Antonio Pollaiuolo.

Prints are stressed by loans

However, loans cannot be taken for granted. Michael Matile emphasizes that “We part with prints and drawings of this kind only very rarely because these graphic art works belong to the most important part of our Collection.” The valuable works of art were packed for the long journey in air-conditioned cases with air-tight closures. Adhesive coverings were put over the entire picture frame glasses to prevent fragments damaging the prints if the glass broke. Every print and drawing is inspected for damage before and after the journey. The prints and drawings will be back at ETH Zurich around 20 May 2007 and will then disappear into the darkness of the boxes for some time until the prints have recovered from the stresses of the journey.

Web site of the National Museum of Western Art:

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