明治22年(1889)2月1日、東京美術学校の開校式が執り行われた。65名の新入生のなかには、横山大観や下村観山、六角紫水ら、卒業後に近代日本の美術界を牽引する作家たちがいた。明治9年に工部省が設置した工部美術学校は文明開化の時代にふさわしい西洋美術の移植を目指したが、文部省が新たに設置した東京美術学校の理念は、日本固有の美術を振興するというものだった。
 この方針を具体化し教育制度を整えた中心人物が、第2代校長となる岡倉覚三(天心)である。岡倉はかたくなな国粋主義者ではなく、美術教育にあたっては「自然発達論」を唱えた。東西の区別をせず広く古典に学び、西洋美術でも参考にしていくというものである。当初は伝統絵画と伝統木彫でスタートしたが、開校から7年後の明治29年には西洋画科が開設し、彫刻も西洋式を取り入れる方向へ変化していった。
 明治31年(1898)に岡倉が校長を辞した後、明治・大正・昭和戦前期と続く東京美術学校の活動を支えたのは、第5代校長の正木直彦だった。依嘱製作の推進、東アジア各国からの積極的な留学生の受け入れ、国の美術施策との社会的連携など、正木は近代における本学の発展に大きく寄与した。昭和10年に正木の長年にわたる功績を顕彰して正木記念館が建設され、現在、その一階に当センターが置かれている。
 昭和24年(1949)に東京藝術大学が設置され、旧美術学校は本学美術学部へと改組された。初代学長の上野直昭は美学を専門とする研究者だったが、戦後から高度成長期へと変革を遂げる時期にさまざまな美術行政にも尽力し、国立の芸術大学としての本学の礎を築いた。また、第6代第8代の学長を務めた平山郁夫が、平成の時代に本学の発展に寄与し文化財保存の分野で多大な業績をのこしたことは記憶に新しい。
 2020年3月までに、美校および美術学部を卒業した学生は2万人を超えている。美校設立から今日に至る130年をこえる本学の歩みは、それじたいが日本の近現代美術史と重なり合っているといえるだろう。


 The 1st of February, 1889 was when the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Fine Arts School was held.Among the 65 new students were YOKOYAMA Taikan, SHIMOMURA Kanzan, ROKKAKU Shisui and other artists, who after graduation would go on to lead the modern Japanese art world. While the Technical Art School, established by the Ministry of Industry in 1876, aimed to transplant Western art appropriate to the era of civilization in Japan, the philosophy of the Tokyo Fine Arts School, newly established by the Ministry of Education, was to promote fine art unique to the nation.

 OKAKURA Kakuzo (also known as OKAKURA Tenshin), who would later become the second principal of the Tokyo Fine Arts School, was the mastermind who put this policy into practice, organizing the curriculum of the new school. Okakura was not a strict nationalist, and promoted the "natural development theory" of Japanese art in fine arts education. Initially, the school started out by teaching traditional painting and wood carving, but in 1896, seven years after the school opened, the Western Painting department was established, and sculptural education also started to incorporate Western styles.

 After Okakura resigned from his position in 1898, it was the fifth principal, MASAKI Naohiko, who supported the activities of the Tokyo Fine Arts School in the first half of the 20th century, throughout the Meiji, Taisho and prewar Showa periods. Masaki contributed greatly to the development of the school in the modern era, promoting commissioned production, actively accepting foreign students from East Asian countries, and collaborating with national policies regarding art.In 1935, the Masaki Memorial Gallery, which currently houses GACMA on the first floor, was built in honor of Masaki's extended service for the school.

 In 1949, the Tokyo University of the Arts was established, and the former Tokyo Fine Arts School was reorganized as the Faculty of Fine Arts of the new university.UENO Naoteru, the first president of the university, was a researcher specializing in aesthetics, but also devoted himself to various art administrations as Japan transformed from the postwar period to the period of rapid economic growth, and laid the foundation for the school as a national art university.Also important to note is HIRAYAMA Ikuo, the sixth and eighth president of the university, who contributed to the development of the university, and made great achievements in the field of cultural property conservation during and after the 1990s, in the Heisei era.

 As of March 2020, more than 20,000 students have graduated from the Tokyo Fine Arts School and the Faculty of Fine Arts. The long history of the school itself, from its foundation more than 130 years ago to this day, certainly overlaps with the history of modern and contemporary art in Japan.

Timeline (Japanese Only)