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Displaying items by tag: kano school

No Japanese school of painting was more ambitious, more accomplished, and more durable than the Kano school, which dominated Japanese art from the late 15th century to the mid-19th. Indeed, in Japanese art history, Kano and canon are virtually synonymous.

A new show called “Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is devoted to those four centuries of achievement. It’s a splendid show, probably the greatest exhibition of Japanese art anywhere in the world this year, and the finest ever devoted to Kano painters. It’s full of (mostly) large-scale art that is stamped with a sense of its own authority, and yet still surprisingly fresh.

Of course, in the West, modern art made the idea of any kind of aesthetic canon seem boring. After Manet, it seems, art couldn’t be interesting unless it was seen to be flogging canonical (substitute “official,” or “academic”) art to death.

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