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Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque

Rubens and the Birth of the Baroque

In a nutshell

Thinking about Rubens usually invokes images of women who “embrace their curves” as we say in today’s vernacular. This exhibition offers another view of this master by focusing on his years in Italy, from 1600 to 1608. This time in Italy, the center of ancient, Renaissance and Baroque art, and his access to sculpture of the ancient world and masters such as Titian and Tintoretto, greatly influenced his art.

The venue

The National Museum of Western Art was designed by Le Corbusier, a renowned French architect, and is designated as an Important Cultural Property. There is a main building with two additional wings that provide four floors of gallery space. This special exhibition space is in B1F and B2F.

English? (labels/audio guides/handouts)

The introduction and chapter information and title cards are in English. All of the extended captions (explanatory panels) are in Japanese only. The museum provides an app (and WiFi) to download that includes all extended captions in English. While it is nice to be able to read information about each piece, looking down at your phone from the artwork can be tiresome. There is also an audio guide available in English.


Photos are not allowed.

The feels

The large scale paintings of religious and mythological subjects are dramatic to see in person.


Anyone interested in the classics and learning Ruben’s influences and his influence on other artists.

How far out?

Centrally located in Ueno Park. A few minutes walk from the JR Ueno Station (park exit); about a ten minute walk from the Keisei Ueno station or the Ueno Subway station.

How much time?

About an hour.

How much money?

¥1,600 for general admission.

Until when?

January 20, 2019

Rating: make a special trip, see it if you’re in the area or have some free time, see it only if you like this specific type of art

See it if you’re in the area.



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