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Title: The Jesuit painting Seminario in Japan: European Renaissance technology and its influence on Far Eastern art
Authors: Montanari, R
Alberghina, MF
Schiavone, S
Pelosi, Claudia 
Issue Date: 2022
European painting technology reached Japan in 1583 with the arrival of Giovanni Cola, the Italian Jesuit painter who was assigned the task of establishing a painting Seminario to supply missionaries with the sacred images needed for their activities. Historical records failed to report information relating to specific European pigments, and only generic mentions of oils are associated with the Seminario. Yet, on a random basis, European pigments and binding media have been identified on some of the paintings that survived the 250-year ban on Christianity in Japan. In order to fully understand the crucial role of the Seminario in terms of technological and material transfer to Japanese and Chinese artists, for the first time, four extremely important paintings (Important Cultural Property of Italy) have been analyzed. Owing to their extraordinary significance, it was mandatory to carry out a non-destructive analysis on site. Therefore, energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence was used to detect the presence of inorganic chromophores that would not exist in Japan at the time. The paintings depict the martyrdom of Japanese Christians at Nagasaki (1619 and 1622), the martyrdom of Jesuit Missionaries in Japan (1630s), and the portrait of Father Ricci SJ (1610). The results provide definitive evidence of the transfer of technology and use of European pigments at the Jesuit Seminario in Japan and also enable, for the first time, the identification of the transfer of technologies and materials to China as a result of the movement of Jesuit missionaries escaping the fierce persecutions enforced by Japanese authorities
ISSN: 0049-8246
DOI: 10.1002/xrs.3256
Rights: CC0 1.0 Universal
Appears in Collections:A1. Articolo in rivista

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