Edgar Degas - At the Races in the Countryside, 1869 - Oil on Canvas, 36.5 x 55.9 cm. - © 2010 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

TOKYO.- The pictorial treasures of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston are being shown in Tokyo, in a major exhibition that explores five centuries of European art made by masters such as Rembrandt, Velazquez, El Greco, Picasso and Van Gogh. The exhibition takes place at the Mori Art Center in Japan's capital, where the visitor is greeted at the entrance by two pictures, Velasquez’ "Luis de Gongora y Argote (1622), and " Victorine Meurent "(1862) by Edouard Manet, as evidence of the influence that the first painter had on the second.

The tour includes 80 works painted by 47 European masters and are articulated through various themes addressing portraits to religious paintings, landscapes and still lifes.

The first section, the portrait, has a dozen masterpieces ranging from Rembrandt's baroque features to the impressionism of Manet or Picasso's Cubism with his "Portrait of a Woman" (1910).

The room devoted to religious painting of the seventeenth century houses jewels such as "Saint Dominic in Prayer" (1605) by El Greco, acquired by Edgar Degas in 1896, or "Christ after the flagellation" painted by Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo around 1665.

Impressionism, a movement popular in Japan, has a special space in this exhibition, with a section dedicated only to the landscapes of Claude Monet in ten paintings featuring his favorite themes, including "The Water Lily Pond" (1990) and "Rouen Cathedral Facade and Tour d'Albane (1894).

One of the jewels of the initial stage of Impressionism has also made its way to Tokyo, "At the Races in the Countryside" by Edgar Degas, the work which was shown in the first exhibition of the Impressionists, in 1874, along with other masters such as Monet and Paul Cézanne.

Visitor looks at Picasso's "Portrait of a Woman", in the European Masterpieces From The Museum of Fine Arts Boston exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. This is the first time some of the masterpieces have been shown in Japan.

The hanging of the works plays with the relationship between the different authors: thus the work of Vincent van Gogh “Houses at Auvers "(1890) appears next to" The Pond " by Cézanne, who lived in Auvers between 1872 and 1874, and the influence Cézanne had on Renoir can be seen a few feet away in the painting "Rocky Crags at L'Estaque" (1882).

The works are a selection of about 1,600 that make up the collection of European paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, which normally are not exhibited outside the galleries of the museum. The exhibition runs through June 20 in Tokyo and from July 6 to August 29 at the Museum of the City of Kyoto.

From the beginning, when we decided that we wanted to make Roppongi Hills a model for future developments in urban planning, we decided to create a new museum where the best in contemporary art and architecture would be shown. The Museum opened in October 2003 at the top of the central Mori Tower - a place visible from throughout Tokyo. The Mori Art Museum strives to be a place for enjoyment, stimulation and discussion - a place where what is important in our culture and society is openly debated, not only through the exhibitions that are shown there but also through a wide range of Public Programs. Visit : www.mori.art.museum/eng/index.html

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Pause For Thought

Cocteau on Artists Speaking

"An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture."