IMAMURA Nobutaka


IMAMURA Nobutaka Associate Professor
Research Subject
  • Art Theory of Seventeenth Century France
  • Museum Studies
  • History of Gallery Teaching Theory
Research Fields
Aesthetics, Art Theory, Museum Studies
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of Cultural Diversity Studies / Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of Art
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of Cultural Diversity Studies / Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of Art
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Philosophy and Cultural Studies / Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of Art
Related Links


Laboratory of Aesthetics and History of ArtIMAMURA Nobutaka Associate Professor

France in the 17th century and Japan in the 21st century
Aesthetic factors connecting both countries through artistic appreciation

In the 17th century, young artists and art lovers in Paris assembled to establish the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, which served as an environment where people appreciated artworks and engaged in artistic discussion. We can learn the process leading up to the dawn of art criticism from the records that remain; namely, the process in which oral arguments gradually came to be entrenched in ecriture (writings). On the other hand, when Japanese people had opportunities to appreciate and experience art at museums in the 21st century, they invariably kept distance from other visitors to take a reflective stance (“Keep quiet!”). This is exactly what interests me. I am exploring aesthetics, theories of art and museum studies while posing a question—is it possible that people are capable of enhancing the significance of artistic appreciation in not only the conventional, calm, and lonely way to appreciate art but also through impromptu artistic discussions with others as in France during the 17th century?

Record of picture appreciation in 17th-century France; letterpress typeface is charming with the occasional spelling mistake, and is full of familiarness that makes you want to read it.
Museum as X, a booklet drawn up in a class for all grades; students uniquely responded to the question of “If you could compare a museum to something else, what would it be?” Examples of responses from students included chameleon, night park and field.

Experiencing “only now and only here”
makes artistic appreciation at museums feel more familiar

Museums highlight various academic achievements derived from diverse disciplines such as archaeology, art history and engineering. Museum studies, which are aimed at exploring how museum spaces should be used as media, can be considered as synonymous with communication studies connecting all studies and society. I feel that museum curators maintain expertise in exhibits as a matter of course, and that it will become more and more important for them to build closer relationships with people so that they can grow with visitors and local communities. If we can provide fulfilling on-site appreciation at museums with the motto of “Only now and only here” and increase the number of people capable of encouraging the public to visit museums for not only sightseeing or as part of a school curriculum but also as a means for life-long learning, I expect that the appreciation of exhibits at museums in Japan will become more casual and flexible.


It is said that directly facing the major issue of “what is art” is no longer possible. The artistic occupation pioneered by humans spreads like a vast land that cannot be overlooked, and even a single researcher cannot easily aim to traverse it. The definition of art and what is (or was) referred to as art are becoming increasingly ambiguous. In addition, the aesthetic aspect of humans who have stayed close to art remains a mysterious abyss that is difficult to measure. Though it is quite certain that art and aesthetics are compelling questions for humans living in difficult times, we may be overwhelmed by the big questions and remain quiet in vain.

Fortunately, however, we do not always tackle art alone. Our research is of course invariably associated with solitary phases, for instance, when we appreciate artwork, question our own sensitivity and seek words to express the process of contemplation. We confront artwork alone, dig down deep into ourselves and play with words. We also know, however, that the time spent exploring on our own will be rewarded by the pleasure derived from interacting with other researchers.

This is where we can see the significance of studying art. Such occasions will surely provide an irreplaceable time in which individual researchers bring up important issues to be earnestly but delightfully discussed.