CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

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KOJIMA, Yoshie
St. Michael the Archangel Holding a Monstrance in Macau: Style, Iconography, and Importance of a Christian painting in the Far-East

Session 14 The Other and the Foreign: Contact, Curiosity, and Creative Exchange

Department of History of Sophia University of Tokyo.


An oil painting representing St. Michael the Archangel Holding a Monstrance of Macau has been attributed to a student of an informal Western art academy in Japan, founded by Giovanni Cola, an Italian Jesuit painter who was the first Western artist in Japan. In my paper l discuss this painting from the point of view of its style and iconography. I am interested in particular in the origins of the first Western style painting practiced in Japan.

I propose that the stylistic origin of the school was Neapolitan local art of the period, in particular the workshop of Giovanni Bernardo Lama, where Cola must have trained as artist, and St. Michael holding Monstrance was made by his student within the context of the Christian communities of Japan and Macau. The subtle and soft Neapolitan local style should have been easier to accept for Chinese and Japanese. It is likely that he was given a print, perhaps the same one that was used a century later by artists in Mexico. One can also contemplate that Works of Cola’s school were diffused also to Manila, along with Nagasaki and Macau, and Saint Michael holing a Monstrance in Macau is situated in the center of this artistic circulation in terms of both style and geography. Regarding iconography of this painting, decree of the thirteenth session of the Council of Trent relating doctrine of transubstantiation must have been crucial.

YOSHIE, Kojima

Yoshie Kojima (BA and MA, History of Art, Waseda University, Tokyo; PhD. Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) is an Associate Professor at the Department of History of Sophia University of Tokyo. Her main areas of research are the reception of Western art in Japan during the 16th-17th centuries, and the Romanesque and Gothic art of Northern Italy. Her many publications include the book Storia di una cattedrale: il Duomo di San Donnino a Fidenza (Edizione della Normale, Pisa 2006), and articles: [in Japanese] “the Madonna of Snow of Sotome in Nagasaki and Counter Reformation Art in Sicily”, in Italian Studies 65, 2015; “Reproduction of the Image of Madonna Salus Populi Romani in Japan,” in Between East and West: Reproductions in Art (IRSA, Cracow 2014); [in Japanese] “Sacred Images of Kakurekirishitan (Hidden Christians) in Ikitsuki Island”, in Bulletin of Nagasaki Cultural Property Research 210, 2013; “Iconografia per “Sacrum Imperium”. Rilievi nella facciata del Duomo di San Donnino”, in Conosco un ottimo storico dell'arte...Per Enrico Castelnuovo (Edizioni della Normale, Pisa 2012) ; “Il commercio di oggetti liturgici di lusso tra Europa e Giappone (XVI e XVII secolo)”, in Quaderni Storici 123-XLI, 2006; [in Japanese] “Christianized Story of Buddha - Sculpture of Parma Baptistery”, in Atelier of Histrians (Sophia Univ. Press, Tokyo 2003).