Scholar Spotlight: Faces in Japanese Art Lecture

Presented by JICC, Embassy of Japan

Few subjects have the power to command a viewer’s attention like the human face. It is often the part of an artwork that holds one’s gaze the longest and elicits the deepest affective responses. This talk will survey the long history of depicting the human face in Japanese art—from the Tale of Genji Scrolls to the prints of Utamaro. We will especially consider the rise of portraiture in Japan and the way in which portraiture has been shaped by a variety of technologies as well as by several long-lived and evocative conventions.

About the Series:

The JICC Seasonal Art Lecture Series from Emerging Scholars featuring a quarterly ‘Scholar Spotlight’ focuses on new research into the Fine Arts of Japan from rising scholars in the field of Japanese art. This series provides the public with new ideas and research on a wide variety of disciplines and art objects from the ancient to the contemporary, and encourages audience engagement with the research topics.


Kristopher W. Kersey is assistant professor of art history at the University of Richmond. His research focuses on the intersecting histories of Japanese art, material culture, and design. In 2014-15 he was the Anne van Biema Postdoctoral Fellow at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. His dissertation (University of California, Berkeley, 2014) was completed as an Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery of Art (USA).

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