On view Rotation 2, November 9, 2013 –January 12, 2014These grandly scaled sliding-door panels, which originally ornamented one wall of an abbot’s quarters at Ryōanji in Kyoto, celebrate the life of the literati—the perfected world of mortal men. The central theme of this work is the appreciation of a painting, one of the Four Accomplishments. Inclusion of what appears to be an imaginary portrait of the Tang-dynasty poet Li Bo (shown at the left as a tipsy old man supported by two attendants) lends an untrammeled air to the scene, making it a place where convention could be broken in the pursuit of a truer art.Momoyama paintings treat the human figure as a monumental element, full of the energy of life. Enhancing the effect, the composition and use of space here continue the bold innovations of Kano Eitoku (1543–1590). Art historical evidence and stylistic clues suggest that this work was created by painters of the Kano studio under the direction of one of Eitoku’s sons, perhaps Takanobu or Kotonobu.The reflective gold ground heightens the details placed against it. Gold also creates an ambiguous space—it reads both as a flat surface and an infinite void. Very different from the contemplative vistas of formal Kano painting of a generation earlier, the space within these panels, instead of enticing the viewer to wander in a separate world, turns back into the room itself and becomes the viewer’s space as well.