Bernard Berenson (in Settignano) to Yashiro

Settignano, Jan. 22. ’53

Dear Yashiro,

With real pleasure I read your article on Italian and Far Eastern Art. You are at once […] and informing, and say what you have to say with crystalline clarity.

My own view is something like this. Italian art may have borrowed costumes certainly, rugs, ornaments, etc., but its grammar (so to speak) was never influenced from the outside. Parallel development accounts for much. Note that the resemblance between Sienese Trecento is not with yours or Chinese of that or of a previous century, but clearly with your coloured prints, Outamaro and others.

If you turn to my “Aesthetics and History” you will come across what I have to say on the question of borrowing and influence. Historically I venture to remind you that as early as 1895 in which I had to say about Crivelli in preface to Venetian Painters and what in 1903 in Burl. Mag. I said about Sassetta. I was among the first Europeans to be aware of the parallels between Sienese and Gothic in general and Far Eastern Art. I hope you will receive the booklet on L’Arco di Costantino. That too, if you have the patience, to glance through will give you words about these matters.

What little work I still can do is devoted to the new edition of “Lorenzo Lotto.” It may be published in the course of the summer. Every good wish.