Yokoyama Taikan’s “Selflessness” painting


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 clothing 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 quiet. They show nice weather of spring day.

We can not find a portrait similar to this innocence and pure boy in Japanese art. And the boy made Yokoyama Taikan who was twenty-nine years old famous overnight.



Author:Yokoyama Taikan


Own:Tokyo National Museum

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