International Symposium: Rethinking the Life and Work of Nagasawa Rosetsu (October 20-21, 2018, University of Zurich, Switzerland)

Hans Bjarne Thomsen's picture
October 20, 2018 to October 21, 2018
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Early Modern History and Period Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Fine Arts, Japanese History / Studies

International Symposium: 

Rethinking the Life and Work of Nagasawa Rosetsu 


University of Zurich, Switzerland

October 20-21, 2018


The Japanese painter Nagasawa Rosetsu (1754–1799) has increasingly been the a source of interest during the last years from popular and academic audiences with numerous exhibitions in Japan and in the West. Rosetsu has long been a name in Western studies of Japanese art, starting with a groundbreaking exhibition at the Denver Art Museum in 1973 and the publication by Robert Moes from the same year.  Presently he is represented at an outstanding exhibition at the Museum Rietberg, Zurich, that feature key works of the artists, seldom seen outside of Japan.  


Rosetsu has been the center of controversy over a long time, from the different versions of his contested biography to the questions of how to interpret the artist and his work. For decades he has been relegated to a list of eccentric artists, which serves little but to obscure a serious discussion of the artist and his remarkable works.  At this time of great popularity and exposure to the public in the East and the West, a rethinking of the artist and his works seems highly overdue. 


For this purpose, the University of Zurich has invited the top Japanese scholars who have been working on Rosetsu over the last years.  We have planned a two-day conference with presentations and discussions and are inviting both younger and more established scholars, including Professors Yasuhiro Satō and Motoaki Kōno, who has been working on Rosetsu since the 1970s. Among the younger stars in the field, we are inviting Momo Miyazaki and Hideyuki Okada who have recently changed Rosetsu scholarship in significant ways.  


The aim is to gather these scholars and to have them engage with each other and pool their knowledge into meaningful discussions.  The expected result of the conference is to spread wider knowledge of this outstanding artist among the scholarly community and among the public.  We also hope that discoveries in the life and works of the artist will be a lasting result of this conference.  


The list of speakers and presentation topics include: 


佐藤康宏 Satō Yasuhiro, University of Tokyo

長澤蘆雪における〈反動〉― 應舉の氷を破る

Rosetsu’s Backlash: Breaking the Ice of Ōkyo


野口剛 Noguchi Takeshi, 根津美術館 Nezu Art Museum


Moonlight and the Return of Sentiment: Nagasawa Rosetsu in Comparison to His Master Maruyama Ōkyo


岡田秀之 Okada Hideyuki, 嵯峨嵐山日本美術研究所 Saga-Arashiyama Institute for Japanese Art


On the Early Works by Rosetsu


河野元昭 Kōno Motoaki, 静嘉堂文庫 Seikadō Bunko Art Museum


Changes in Rosetsu Reception That I Have Observed over the Years


中谷伸生 Nakatani Nobuo, Kansai University 


Osaka Painters and Rosetsu 


宮崎ももMiyazaki Momo, 大和文華館 Yamato Bunkakan


On the Finger Paintings of Rosetsu


Hans Bjarne Thomsen, University of Zurich

The Kansai Eccentric


筒井忠仁 Tsutsui Tadahito, 文化庁Agency for Cultural Affairs


From Nanki to Hiroshima: The Transition of the Nagasawa Rosetsu’s Style and the Transformation of his Spirit


For details, please refer to the symposium homepage:


The symposium is free and open to the public. No prior registration is required.

Presentations will be in Japanese and in English. Texts in English will be supplied for presentations held in Japanese.

For questions, please contact the Section for East Asian Art:


The symposium is organized by the Section for East Asian Art, University of Zurich, 
and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss-Japanese Society, 
and the University of Zurich Foundation (Hochschulstiftung)


Contact Info: 

Hans Bjarne Thomsen

Professor and Chair

Section for East Asian Art

Institute of Art History

University of Zurich

Zurich, Switzerland

Contact Email: