(B. 1953)
Time of Reading
signed with artist's signature (lower left)
oil on canvas
165.5 x 115.5 cm. (65 1/8 x 45 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2009

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Lot Essay

By incorporating Roger Freeing Angelica by Ingres into Time of Reading (Lot 1632), Mitsuru Watanabe strives to expose the relevance of historic paintings to contemporary visual culture and emotions of young women. Watanabe believes that young girls of any generation will inevitably dream of some version of heroes rescuing damsels or of a knight in shining armour. This notion of recurring fantasy is visually demonstrated by the clever positioning of the Ingres masterpiece to illustrate an interaction between our young modern protagonist and Roger, who spears the inside pages of the comic, asserting his presence in the romantic stories within. The young girl initially seems oblivious to Roger's presence yet her sideways stare and alert ears suggests an intuition or acknowledgement of her quixotic dreams. These romantic ideals are elevated by the delicate and even brushstrokes Watanabe uses to acutely replicate the tactile quality and compositional elements of classical paintings. By positioning the young school girl in a central position posed in front of an altar of sorts, it is as if she herself were a figure of reverence.

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