The Ranald MacDonald Prize? For whom and what for?

According to the articles of association of the foundation ‘Friends of MacDonald • The Dutch Connection’ the answer is: ‘The Ranald MacDonald Award (is annually granted) to a work (about the relations between Asia, Europe and North America in a broad sense) by a beginning artist or writer of exceptional quality, that is ‘true, good and beautiful’.

Four considerations are clear:

  • The prize will be awarded to work already circulating in the public domain —it is therefore not a grant.
  • The work should be its maker’s ‘first’.
  • The maker’s nationality is irrelevant.
  • Not only the content of the work is what matters, but the form is equally important. If it concerns a book, the writing should be explicitly good and beautiful.

In a spreadsheet the answer to the questions above might have been put as follows:

in the public domaina book already published, a dance that has been performed, a painting exhibited, a building already realised, a film having appeared on screen
comprehensible for any interested laymanit should not contain scientific or artistic jargon
a start of some kindpreferably his or her very first work in the relevant field
writer in the broadest sensea historical or political work, a poetry collection, a journalistic report, a book of photographs, a novel, an essay
artist in the broadest sensesee 'a work in the public domain'
good, true, beautifulἀγαθόν agathon "good", ἀληθές alethes "true", καλόν kalon "beautiful"
in three words, a THING OF BEAUTY

In the realm of dreams the prize might have been awarded

Hidenori MitsueHis paintings of 20122012
Edmund de WaalThe Hare with Amber Eyes2010
Nina PaleySita sings the blues2008
Wang BingTie Xi Qu: West of the Tracks2003
Jonathan ClementsThe Anime Encyclopedia2001
Amélie NothombLe Sabotage amoureux1993
Tony GatlifLatcho Drom1993
Frank DikötterThe Discourse of Race in Modern China1992
Kristofer SchipperLe corps taoïste. Corps physique, corps social1982
Ian BurumaThe Japanese Tattoo1980
John DowerOrigins of the Modern Japanese State1975
Pierre RyckmansLes Habits neufs du président Mao1971
Donald RichieThe Japanese Film: Art and Industry1959
Akira Kurosawa生きものの記録 • I Live in Fear1955
Vincent van GoghBrug in de regen (naar Hiroshige), Courtisane (naar Eisen) en Bloeiende pruimenboomgaard (naar Hiroshige)1887
Eduard Douwes DekkerMax Havelaar1860
Philipp Franz von SieboldNippon1832
Nicolaes WitsenNoord en Oost Tartarye1692