Past Exhibition Special Exhibition

Undressing Paintings: Japanese Nudes 1880-1945



Art Museum Special Exhibition Gallery (1F)

About the Exhibition

Paintings of naked figures are still being produced widely, and are familiar to us. Nevertheless, the custom of depicting in works of art and publicly appreciating naked and semi-naked human bodies is relatively new in Japan, introduced only after the middle of the Meiji period (1868-1912) as an element of a foreign culture mainly via France. After that, many painters explored various ways of presenting nude bodies before the custom eventually established itself firmly in the country.

Is eroticism necessary for art? How can we strike a proper balance between the two? Who is to determine the properness of the balance? While people including art lovers and the police were involved in such arguments, painters tried to figure out ways to handle nudes, having them lie or stand on their heads, with their limbs stretched or shortened, or lending unusual colors to them.

Presenting 100 oils dating from 1880s to 1940s, this exhibition explores the origin of the still actual issues around art and nudity. Through the exhibits ranging from Important Cultural Properties to little-known controversial works, we hope the show will provide a new perspective on the history of Japanese art centering on nudity.

Hours & Admissions


Art Museum Special Exhibition Gallery (1F)




10:00-17:00 (Friday is 10:00-20:00)
※Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.


Mondays [except January 2 and 9, 2012]
December 28, 2011-January 1, 2012
January 10, 2012


Adults: ¥850 (600)
College and university students: ¥450 (250)

*All prices include tax.
*Including the admission fee for Valerio Olgiati and Permanent Collection.
*Prices in parentheses are for groups of more than 20 persons.
*Free for high school students and under 18.
*Persons with disability and one person accompanying them are admitted free of charge.


The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Page Top