Giovanni Niccolo

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  • Birth: 1560
  • Death: 1626
  • Other Names: Nicolao, Cola

Giovanni Niccolò was a Jesuit missionary from Italy, active in Japan beginning in 1583. He is known in particular as a teacher of European-style painting to Japanese students.

After arriving in Japan in 1583, at some point before 1591, he established an art studio attached to the Jesuit school for Japanese students (seminario) already in operation. He trained a number of Japanese students in the techniques of European art, and specifically in producing works for decorative or religious use in churches being established in Japan. Some of these students also produced hybrid works, known as shoki-yôfûga ("early Western-style paintings"), which combined European techniques and subjects with Japanese formats and media. The seminario was closed in 1614.


  • Naoko Frances Hioki, "Visual Bilingualism and Mission Art," Japan Review 23 (2011), 25, 34.