CEEH Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica

Imaged and Imagined. Images of Spain as Seen in Prints from Japanese Collections


Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum (NPAM), 8/4/2023 – 11/6/2023 The National Museum of Western Art, Tokio (NMWA), 3/7/2023 – 4/9/2023


Yusuke Kawase, assisted by Yuta Inaba


Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum; The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; The Asahi Shimbun


CEEH, AC/E, Spanish Embassy in Japan, Instituto Cervantes, Tokyo  

While today Spain is a favored destination for tourists from around the world, historically it was overlooked to the degree that there was the view that “after the Pyrenees comes Africa.” It was an unknown land to its fellow Europeans, a foreign, little-understood country. Yet, the full movement of people and goods between the rest of Europe and Spain was set off by Napoleon’s invasion and the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814). This led to the full “discovery” of the exotic fascination of Spain by other European countries during the Romantic era. Flamenco, bullfighting, the Alhambra, Velázquez, Don Quixote – there are many typical images that come to mind at the mention of Spain, and these images were all established by foreign visitors to the country in the 19th century. The print form, which could be produced in multiple copies and easily distributed, was the medium that played a major role in the formation and spread of these images.

This exhibition presents a largely chronological view of the historical development of prints related to Spain from the early 17th century through the latter half of the 20th century. The approximately 240 works presented here consider the contribution made by prints, with their ability to copy and convey the formation and distribution of images related to Spanish culture and art. In addition to traversing the oeuvres of Goya, Fortuny, Picasso, Casas, Miró, Dalí, Tàpies and other Spanish masters, the exhibition also introduces a number of works on Spanish subjects made in 19th-century France and England by Delacroix, Manet, Roberts, and others. Working from the basis of the collections of the National Museum of Western Art (NMWA), Tokyo, and the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum (NPAM), the most important Spanish print collections in Japan, this exhibition is comprised of loans from some 40 lenders within Japan, making it an opportunity to consider how Spanish art has been received in Japan and how such extensive collections have been formed.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue sponsored by the CEEH with contributions by Japanese and international authors, and an English edition is also available thanks to the sponsorship of CEEH and AC/E.

See catalogue
The exhibition in Nagasaki

The exhibition in Tokio