Araki Nobuyoshi (b. 1940)
Japan, c. 1989
Photograph; RC gloss print
Copyright: Nobuyoshi Araki
Courtesy of the artist and Yoshiko Isshiki Office, Tokyo

Clearly inspired by the European painting tradition that similarly informed the works of Hashiguchi Goyō (1880–1921) on display nearby, photographs by Araki such as this one present his models in foreshortened poses and employ intense chiaroscuro in order to infuse the scenes with theatricality. This particular image includes numerous visual similarities to ‘The Lamentation of Christ’ (c. 1480), a painting by Andrea Mantegna (1431–1506): the figure’s pose, the ripples in the sheet, and the dramatic shadows throughout the composition. Araki’s reference to such works of religious art challenges our tendency to ascribe moral value to an image and to classify it as either ‘sacred’ or ‘profane.’