The Japanese virtuoso Kawanabe Kyosai was renowned for his sekiga – comic paintings, improvised at drunken shogakai (‘calligraphy and painting parties’). Life in 19th-century Japan offered rich material for a satirist; there are numerous written records of Kyosai’s encounters with some of the European and American visitors to Japan after the country opened its ports in 1854, and his prints and paintings frequently depict the introduction of Western culture, as well as domestic political events. Kyosai also produced more polished studio works, reflecting his academic training at the celebrated Kano school; as well as a wide selection of his sekiga and his erotic shunga, a highlight of this exhibition of 80 works by Kyosai at the Royal Academy in London (19 March–19 June) is a pair of 3m folding screens, Night procession of one hundred demons (1871–89). Find out more from the RA’s website.
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