Studies in Western Art No.16
Art and Censorship

June, 2012

ISBN978-4-88303- 287-7


Special Theme

A Roundtable Discussion on Art and Censorship

Seiji Choki / Kan Nozaki / Toshiharu Nakamura / Astushi Miura


Jean-Claude Lebensztejn
Translation by Chiyori Mizuno
Mauvais lieu

This article treats various aspects of the ceaseless struggle between culture and decorum. It introduces Pietro Aretino's criticism which understood Michelangelo's Last Judgment , in which the saints were also painted nude in the pope's chapel, as ‘out of place' and violating ‘decorum', a criterion that demands suitable expression for subject and place. After discussing the etymology and derivation of the term ‘decorum', which has opposite meanings such as ‘decor' and ‘courtesy', the author explores the long history of decorum as an opposition between two values, namely religious decorum and artistic freedom in art and sacred music. He also follows the destruction of decorum and the sacralization of art after Romanticism, leading up to the renewed struggle with a resurrected decorum after Modernism.

Motokazu Kimata
The Initial D of Psalm 109 and the Formation of the Trinity of Psalm in the 13th Century
A Consideration of Conventions and Artistic Freedom in Christian Iconography

This article proposes a method of iconographic investigation that has the potential to supplement the weaknesses of conventional iconographic research, which consists of tracing formal variations in time and space often by separating an image corresponding to a given theme or subject from its context. This method can also be used to reconstruct thematic as well as formal variations corresponding to a specific context. It focuses on images placed in the initial D of Psalm 109 in psalters produced in England and Northern France from the late twelfth century to late thirteenth century. One outcome of this method is its revision of the theory proposed by B?spflug and Zaluska concerning the process by which the iconography of the Trinity of Psalm was formed. This iconographic pattern would have been formed on the basis of the traditional thematic and formal elements that already existed either in relation to or in this specific context, without needing to pass through contexts other than a psalter. These traditional elements function as the norm for new requests to represent the Trinity, but they also are adapted to these requests.

Toshiharu Nakamura
Rubens’ ‘Judgement of Art’ and Sensuality
Criticism of Depictions of Nudity in the Age of Counter-Reformation

After the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church condemned the lascivious image. Monumental paintings with nude figures, however, enjoyed great popularity in the first half of the seventeenth century. This article examines the relationship between censorship and Rubens. It also considers the circumstances attending the execution and reception of Rubens' Judgement of Paris for the court of Philip IV of Spain, and demonstrates the importance of lifelike nudes for Rubens in light of his admiration for Titian and sense of rivalry with the Venetian master.

Atsushi Miura
Politics and Censorship in Manet's The Execution of Emperor Maximilian

Representing a contemporary tragic event, Manet's The Execution of Emperor Maximilian critiques the Establishment of the Second Empire through its adoption of an expression that deviates from the criteria of history painting. As a consequence it was censored by the government. This article traces the production of five versions (four oil paintings and one lithograph) of the work and examines Manet's process against official prohibition against the display of the final painting (Manheim Museum) and lithograph. We can assume that Manet and his friends, republican and anti-imperialist critics, cooperated in the development of criticism of censorship in the press.


Astushi Omori
National Art or Degenerate Art?
The Fate of German Expressionist Art

During the Weimar era the tolerance on the part of German museums for contemporary art was unrivalled anywhere in the world. In the center of contemporary art was expressionist art, which had been anointed to the status of national art embodying the “Deutschtum” by critics. As places of national education, museums made it their agenda to make expressionist art truly national art. But there was a gap between agenda and reality. For their part the national socialists were divided in their attitude toward expressionist art, viewing it as either national art or degenerate art. This article examines the situation until 1934 when the disunity was resolved and the fate of expressionist art was determined.


State of Research

Akira Akiyama
Notes on the Censorship of Images in Early Modern Germany

Yoshinori Kyotani
Exhibitions of the Nude
From the Tableaux Vivants to the “Gakubuchi Nude Show”

Yayoi Noda
Brancusi and his American Reception
The Trial Concerning Bird in Space of 1927-28


Sources and Documents

Translation with Annotations
Chiyori Mizuno
A Record of the Inquisition of Paolo Veronese

Translation with Annotations
Torahiko Terada
Documents Concerning Manet's The Execution of Emperor Maximilian

Translation with Annotations
Yayoi Noda
C. Brancusi vs. the United States
An Abridged Translation of the Stenographic Minutes of the Trial Concerning Bird in Space



Edited by Masaya Koizumi


The Others

Exhibition Review

Kayo Hirakawa
Van Eyck to Durer: The Influence of Early Netherlandish Painting on European Art,

( Bruges, 2010-2011)

Masaya Koizumi
Paul Gauguin: The Breakthrough into Modernity
(Cleveland / Amsterdam, 2009-2010)
Paul Gauguin: The Maker of Myth
(London / Washington, D.C., 2010-2011)


Shigetoshi Osano
Notes by an Art Historian, Part 2:
Is Seeing Once Worth More Than Hearing a Hundred Times?

Tetsuhiro Kato
A New Focus on Rumohr: From My Recent Concerns