03. Japan: The Cult of Beauty


In the Edo period Japanese culture achieved a rare refinement.  Beauty infused nearly every aspect of life: Zen gardens, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, poetry, calligraphy, woodblock prints, and dress (kimonos and netsuke). Transience and mortality were seen as an integral part of beauty. When Japanese culture made it to Europe, it had a profound influence on artists such as Van Gogh, Degas, and Whistler. The arts of Japan resonated deeply for them as they still do for us today. Together we will explore Zen and Japanese gardens; haiku poetry and calligraphy; tea ceremony* and flower arrangement; painting, woodblock prints, and netsuke; and Western art influenced by Japanese art.

* We are fortunate to have Yumiko Katsuya, a Japanese Canadian master potter, offer us a tea ceremony.


Back to Toronto Pursuits Main Page

Sean Forester, a classical oil painter, has led for Classical Pursuits for several years. He studied at St. John’s College and at Cambridge University as a Rotary scholar. Sean has long admired Japanese culture and is excited to explore it more deeply in Toronto. He will help us see Japanese art through a Western artist’s eyes.

Participants are required to obtain the specified editions in order to facilitate the group’s ability to find and cite portions of the text during discussion. Books selected may not be available in new editions in both Canada and the US. Used copies are available.

How to Look at Japanese Art,
by Stephen Addiss
(Harry N. Abrams, 1996)
ISBN-13: 978-0810926400

The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa (Essential Poets),
by Robert Hass
(The Ecco Press; First Edition, 1995)
ISBN-13: 978-0880013512

Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism,
by Karin Breuer (Prestel, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-3791350820

The Book of Tea Classic Edition,
by Kakuzo Okakura
(Tuttle Publishing, 1989)
ISBN-13: 9780804800693

Register Online

Ask a Question

Toronto Pursuits 2014