Hiroshi Sugimoto: Gates of Paradise
Hiroshi Sugimoto, one of Japans best-known photographers, turns his lens on Italys architectural masterworks to create a meditation on the potential of cultural exchange and the possibility of cultural fusion.
In an electrifying moment in 1585, four Japanese youths appeared before Pope Gregory XIII, summoned to his court from the nascent Christian community in Japan to present themselves at the capital of their faith. Legendary photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto follows in the boys footsteps, capturing the architectural wonders of Rome, Florence, and Venice as the Eastern visitors might have seen them on their grand tour. Sugimotos images present each chapel and theater as a marvel, imposing and dark. He contextualizes his photographs with Japanese works from the period and the decades that follow. These panels and objects attest to the impact of Western culture, specifically Jesuit Christianity, on Momoyama and Edo aesthetics as Japanese artists envisioned scenes of European life.