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April 13, 2012

Kyoto Garden of Fine Arts (Kyoto Guide, Museums)

Right next to the Kyoto Botanical Garden, another prefectural extravaganza has been laid out: a plaza with walls of cascading water, designed by Ando Tadao in his familiar style of smooth concrete. Called Garden of Fine Arts, it has been built below ground level to keep it from obscuring the adjacent Botanical Garden. One could compare this space to a modernist stroll garden, but instead of rocks and plantings one finds eight works of art here.

[Kyoto Garden of Fine Arts]

The art works are copies on ceramic plates and very well done (made by the same company, Otsuka Ohmi Ceramics, as in the Otsuka Museum of Art in Tokushima, but without the high entry fee of that facility). We have water lilies by Monet, suitably on the bottom of a pond; Michelangelo's Last Judgement, a huge work copied life-size; Da Vinci's Last Supper; and Seurat, Van Gogh and Renoir.

[Kyoto Garden of Fine Arts. Michelangelo's Last Judgement consists of 110 plates and is the same size as the original in the Sixtine Chapel of the Vatican]

Chinese art is represented by the long scroll painting Qingming Shanghe Tu ("On the River During the Qingming Festival") and Japan with the humoristic Choju Giga (scroll one and two). You will never see the frolicking monkeys, frogs and rabbits as clearly as here!

The paintings have been transferred to the porcelain plates by photoengraving; after firing the porcelain plates, the brilliant hues match the original work while having the addional advantage of never fading. Here, in the Garden of Fine Arts, they even withstand the elements.

[Kyoto Garden of Fine Arts, Da Vinci's Last Supper]

The Garden of Fine Arts was built in 1994 and incorporates some works on porcelain plates made for the International Greenery exhibition of 1990. More interesting than the copies of the paintings on their own, is the combination with the award-winning architecture of Ando Tadao.
Garden of Fine Arts (Kyoto Furitsu Toban Meiga no Niwa)
Shimogamo Hangicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-0823. Tel. 075-724-2188
Hrs. 9:00-17:00 (enter by 16:30). Closed Dec. 28- Jan 4.
100 yen (50 yen in case of combination ticket with Kyoto Botanical Garden)
The fastest way to get here from Kyoto Station or Hankyu Karasuma is to take the subway to Kitayama Station.