Kano Hogai Merciful Mother Kannon

Kanō Hōgai’s Merciful Mother Kannon

“Merciful Mother Kannon”     Kanō Hōgai (1828-1888) was born in the house of a painter who was a purveying painter to the Chofu Clan and was blessed with the talent for painting from a young age. While belonging to the Kanō school and acting as a painter of the shogunate, he learned ink paintings such as Sesshu.   Related Posts     When he was 54 years old, he met Fenollosa who appreciated Japanese paintings. Hōgai began to aim for the creation of new Japanese painting incorporating techniques such as aerial perspective and bright contrast.   “Merciful Mother Kannon” is his last work which he painted until 4 days before the death. The Read more about Kanō Hōgai’s Merciful Mother Kannon[…]

Hasegawa Tohaku pine tree

Hasegawa Tōhaku’s Pine Trees folding screen painting

“Pine Trees”     “Pine Trees” is said to be a work drawn by Hasegawa Tōhaku (1539-1610) when he was in the 50s. And the painting is his masterpiece as well as a masterpiece of the early modern ink painting. It is rare examples reflected in Japan, the attitude of faithfulness to Mokkei (?-1269) who was a Chinese monk and painter in the Southern Song Dynasty.   He was working on the ceiling painting of Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto around the age of 50, and he saw the Chinese monk’s painting at the temple and received a great shock. He trained hard at Daitokuji Temple to acquire the techniques of Mokkei’s ink painting. “Pine Read more about Hasegawa Tōhaku’s Pine Trees folding screen painting[…]

Maruyama Ōkyo’s “Pine Trees in Snow” folding screen painting

“Pine Trees in Snow”       Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795) was a painter who worked in the middle of the Edo Period (1603-1868) and established the Maruyama school. Before the appearance of Ōkyo, both the Sanshui painting and the flower and bird painting were to draw in accordance with the model.    Reference “Landscapes of Autumn and Winter” ink painting by Sesshu   However, he drew the subject with throughgoing observation. The sketch of him was very easy to understand and was widely supported by many people from the noble to the townspeople.   This picture, which is designated as a national treasure, is believed that Ōkyo produced by the request of Read more about Maruyama Ōkyo’s “Pine Trees in Snow” folding screen painting[…]

Yokoyama Taikan’s “Selflessness” painting

“Selflessness”   Yokoyama Taikan (1868-1958) was a great painter in modern Japanese art. He was the first member who graduated from the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. Taikan established the method of “Moro-tai” (drawing with vague line). Moronobu drew the whole body of the beauty at central bottom of the screen. There are plenty of space above her. The arrangement makes the woman so impressive. The vivid red kimono cloth on the plain background also emphasize her. “Selflessness” is Taikan’s early work. Selflessness is the core idea of Zen and the boy represents the enlightenment in Buddhism world. The pussy willows come into bud and the surface of the river is Read more about Yokoyama Taikan’s “Selflessness” painting[…]

Hishikawa Moronobu’s Beauty Looking Back painting

“Beauty Looking Back”   One of the most popular paintings which depict a beauty stands in Japan and it is also the most famous artwork by Hishikawa Moronobu (1618-1694). Hishikawa Moronobu was a ukiyo-e painter in the early Edo Period (1603-1868) and established the method of coloring for ukiyo-e woodblock (there was only a black print in Japan until then). “Beauty Looking Back” is an original painting in his later years. Moronobu drew the whole body of the beauty at central bottom of the screen. There are plenty of space above her. The arrangement makes the woman so impressive. The vivid red kimono cloth on the plain background also emphasize her. Read more about Hishikawa Moronobu’s Beauty Looking Back painting[…]

Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of samurai (musha-e)

The heros for the people of Edo with ukiyo-e woodblock prints Kabuki and ukiyo-e are the amenities for the townspeople in Edo period (1603-1683). Samurai and ancient battle were one of the popular themes of the theatrical performance and woodblock printing. The stories of samurai made them excited and grieved same as today.    Though there were countless ukiyo-e artists in Edo period, not all of them drew the pictures of samurai, musha-e (武者絵). The only artists who were good at expressing their bravery and painfulness with impressive pictures. Especially Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861) and his disciple Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892).      The ukiyo-e woodblock prints of samurai (musha-e)     Okumura Masanobu Read more about Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of samurai (musha-e)[…]

hokusai dragon obuse

Katsushika Hokusai- Dragon Painting

Hokusai’s outstanding Dragon painting in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture   The painting of “Dragon” on the ceiling of the festival float of Higashimachi is owned by  Hokusai Museum in Obuse City. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) visited the small city four times. Even at the first visit, he was over eighty (the average life span of Japanese people at that time was about thirty-four!). “Dragon” and “Phoenix” was the artworks which he painted at his second visit. The “Phoenix” painting on the Higashimachi festival float led to “Phoenix that glares in all directions” on the ceiling of Gansho-in Temple in the city.       Though he was already a famous ukiyo-e artist Read more about Katsushika Hokusai- Dragon Painting[…]

jakuchu tiger

Tiger painted by Ito Jakuchu

Tiger       The tiger has a rounded line and humorous face. The gesture licking its paw is a cute cat rather than a fierce animal.       When Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800) drew this artwork in 1755, he just decided to devote himself in painting and handed the family business of the vegetable wholesaler.   On the upper right of the screen, Jakuchu wrote 「我画物象非真不図、国無猛虎倣毛益摸」. It means “I have no talent in drowing nature and I won’t. There is any tiger in the country and I reproduced the work of Mao Yi.” But actually, he copied the painting of “Fierce Tiger” at Shodenji Temple in Kyoto.     Title:Tiger Date:1755 Size:129.7×71.0cm Owner:Joe Read more about Tiger painted by Ito Jakuchu[…]

Katsushika Hokusai’s dragon and fuji scroll painting

The meaning of 「富士越龍図」(Dragon over Mt. Fuji)     Hokusai’s later years artwork The great painter and woodblock printmaker Katsushika Hokusai died April 18th, 1849. He was 90 years old at the time. According to the record,      翁 死に臨み大息し 天我をして十年の命を長らわしめば といい 暫くして更に言いて曰く 天我をして五年の命を保たしめば 真正の画工となるを得(う)べし と言吃りて死す   ‘On his deathbed, he breathed deeply and said “If the heaven let me live ten more years…”, then continued after a while “If the heaven let me preserve my life five more years, I could become a real artist.”‘       Dragon and Mt. Fuji Hokusai drew “Dragon over Mt. Fuji” in the same year when he died. The painting is Read more about Katsushika Hokusai’s dragon and fuji scroll painting[…]

Hokusai Manga (Sketch) ukiyo-e book by Katsushika Hokusai

“Hokusai Manga” which influenced Impressionist     The sketch for the pupils but… When Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was 52 years old, he drew more than 300 sketches at his pupil’s home. And the publisher Eirakudo published the first “Hokusai Manga” in 1814. Though Hokusai intended to show his art technique for his pupils, the book became popular also among the people.         The series of “Hokusai Manga” had been published up to 15 volumes even after Hokusai died until 1878. The number of the sketches are about 4000.    Learn about Katsushika Hokusai’s biography and facts                   “Manga” means comic Read more about Hokusai Manga (Sketch) ukiyo-e book by Katsushika Hokusai[…]