Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 20:02
This past Saturday, the McMullen Museum of Art on the first floor of Devlin Hall opened its latest exhibit, Portugal, Jesuits, and Japan: Spiritual Beliefs and Earthly Goods. The new exhibit features rare nanban art from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as historical artifacts, maps, and rare books that depict the history of cultural exchange between Portuguese Jesuits and the Japanese in the 16th century. Following last semester’s acclaimed Paul Klee show, “Portugal, Jesuits, and Japan” is another fine addition to the McMullen’s tradition of bringing unique, thoroughly researched, and rare art exhibits to campus.
The current exhibit offers more than just artistic interest, however. In a year that marks the sesquicentennial of Boston College’s founding as well as the 100th anniversary of the University’s move to Chestnut Hill, the McMullen’s latest exhibit is extremely timely, reminding us of a forgotten chapter in the history of the Jesuits. The exhibit demonstrates the international nature of the Society of Jesus by exploring their efforts in Asia. On an important anniversary, the museum’s exhibit can thus serve as a historical corrective, reminding its audience that the Jesuits are a truly international organization that extends well beyond Europe and the Western world.
The Heights applauds museum director Nancy Netzer and her entire staff for their efforts in bringing a historically rich exhibit to campus. The exhibit is a collaborative effort, made possible through the cooperation of the Portuguese government and generous loans from museums and private collections across the U.S. and Portugal. The exhibit’s descriptive plaques and accompanying catalogue draw on research by top international scholars from across disciplines, placing the art in its historical and religious context.
BC is fortunate to have an internationally renowned art museum on campus. Since its inception, the museum has acquired a strong reputation, attracting many visitors to campus and earning raves from publications like The Boston Globe. Best of all, the McMullen’s convenient location in Devlin makes it possible for students and faculty members to visit quite easily. Portugal, Jesuits, and Japan is open until June 2 and entry is free of charge. The Heights encourages all members of the BC community to take advantage of its riches.