This painting depicts two fashionable, kimono-clad young women, using bright, light-filled colors. In its subject-manner and style, we can see the influence of Kuroda Seiki, whom Fujishima was studying under at the time.
In what may be an evening scene of Ueno’s Shinobazu Lake, two women are enjoying the coolness of the waterside. Fujishima Takeji exhibited a preparatory drawing for this work at the second Hakubakai (White Horse Society) exhibition and the finished version, the work shown here, at the third exhibition the following year. In the preparatory drawing, Fujishima additionally included a man and a young nursemaid in an attempt to create a genre painting with a group of figures. However, perhaps because his composition was severely criticized from the very beginning, he reduced the number of figures in the present work and chose a composition in which the background occupies a large part of the picture. Infrared examination has revealed that there is a careful charcoal drawing beneath this work and that hardly any changes have been made in the shapes of the figures. This indicates that Fujishima must have kept strictly to a composition he had arrived at after much reworking. The paint is thinly applied in general, but the artist has abided by the traditional tenet of oil painting by using lead white and applying paint thickly in the lighted areas and applying paint thinly, without lead white, in the areas in shadow. In addition, the trees and grass have been depicted with light and airy brushwork that makes much use of the tip of the brush, so that we even feel the movement of the cooling breeze. Besides the Hakubakai exhibition, this work was also shown in the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900 under the title Lakeside. (Writer : Naomi Sakonju Source : Selected Masterpieces from The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music: Grand Opening Exhibition, The University Art Museum, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, 1999)