The Otsuka Museum of Art, situated on a hill in a corner of the Seto Naika Inland sea national park overlooking the Naruto straits in Japan, houses the world's first collection of ceramic-board reproductions of masterpieces.
Built at a cost of some US $ 800 million to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Otsuka Chemical group, the museum , housed in an eight-storey building ( five floors below ground and three above) is the first of its kind to exhibit full-size reproductions of famous artworks from 170 museums baked into ceramic board at a temperature of 1,300°C with absolute fidelity to the originals.
|The collection spans 3,000 years of western art history, from Ancient Greece through da Vinci's |
«Mona Lisa » to Picasso and Chagall and is surely one of the craziest achievements of these past 50 years.
Masahito Otsuka, Director of the Otsuka Museum, said his group started to make tiles out of the sand of the Naruto straits and thus up to the size of one square meter without blemish or crack. However, after the world oil crisis in 1973 there was no market for its tiles.
After a visit in a Moscow cemetery in 1975 where he noticed that attached to many of the tombstones were name-card sized photographs of the beloved which had faded because of ultraviolet rays of the sun, it occurred to Masahito Otsuka that baking the photographs into ceramics would preserve the original color forever.
That was how the Otsuka group began making ceramic reproductions of artworks, concentrating at first on Japanese paintings and scenes and that was how the idea for the Otsuka Museum of Art emerged.