If one believes that each distinct culture is equally valid and worthwhile, then somebody like Seiki Kuroda (1866-1824) is the cultural equivalent of napalm.
After a period of study in France, this son of a Shimizu clan samurai, returned to Japan in 1893, and, both as a painter and a teacher, unleashed the full force of Western academic and French Impressionist painting styles on Japan, completely Westernizing mainstream art. Like so much else in those days, art was viewed as something where Japan lagged pitifully behind the West and had to catch up by ditching its own traditions. But culture and training can run only so deep. Many of the paintings at this exhibition – Lakeside (1897), Wisdom (1900), and Flower Field (1915) – show that, despite years of study in foreign techniques, Kuroda still retained much of the inherent Japanese sensibility for delicate and slightly voyeuristic depictions of nature and nudity.
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art: July 15 - August 27, 2006