Hiroshi Sugimoto, one of Japan's best-known photographers, turns his lens on Italy's 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. Sugimoto's images present each chapel and theatre as a marvel, imposing and dark. He contextualises 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.