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Hon'ami Kōetsu (1558–1637), the celebrated early seventeenth-century Japanese artist whom the art-historian Elise Grilli likened to Leonardo da Vinci—"a versatile genius in whom all the arts and refinements of his day seemed to find their confluence"—has never been the subject of a comprehensive exhibition outside Japan. American audiences will have the rare opportunity to see outstanding examples of his work in The Arts of Hon'ami Kōetsu, Japanese Renaissance Master, an exhibition of more than 100 objects, ranging from calligraphy and printed books to ceramics and lacquerwork, drawn from collections throughout Japan, Europe and the United States.
Hon'ami Kōetsu could be described as an "art director" par excellence. He collaborated with other outstanding artists of his day to breathe new life into traditional formats. Kōetsu has the unique distinction of having works in two different mediums—lacquerwork and ceramic—designated "National Treasures" by the Japanese government. He was a multi-talented, irrepressible genius who inspired his contemporaries and exerted profound influence on generations to come.
The multi-media project was created by the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Gifu, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and made possible in part by The Juroku Bank, Ltd., and Itochu International.