japan: the natural world and landscapes

The evolution of Japanese Landscaping.                One of the most famous art styles of Japan is that of landscape painting. Historical Japanese landscaping has its roots in Chinese landscape painting, an art style that was brought to Japan by Zen Buddhism that later synthesized as sumi-e. Several periods after the height of sumi-e during the Muromachi Period, Japanese landscaping would be redeveloped through the ukiyo-e art style of the Edo Period. The overall theme of this exhibition is to show the evolution of Japanese landscaping through the two main techniques and styles between the Muromachi and Edo Periods, when Japan gave rise to many artistic masters who redefined landscape art. It also gives a sample of some of the masters of their respective art styles and periods.

                The artworks you will see include 3 sumi-e paintings and 2 ukiyo-e prints. The sumi-e paintings are done by Shūbun and Sesshū (Shūbun’s student) of the Muromachi Period, and Hasegawa Tōhaku of the Momoyama Period. Sesshū would go on to develop his own style of sumi-e landscaping in terms of brush strokes and compositional technique. The 2 ukiyo-e prints are from Hokusai’s “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji” series and are meant to showcase how much Japanese landscaping has evolved, from the linework to the use of color.

                The progression of the artworks not only show what most of the world knows instinctively as Japanese art, but the development of a new, homebred artistic style that broke off of a technique that was initially Chinese. The transition from purely monochromatic Zen Buddhist imagery to a decorative polychromatic style can be seen through these 5 artworks._____Works Cited______                     "suiboku-ga". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 28 Apr. 2016 <http: / /www.britannica.com /art /suiboku-ga>.


"Shubun". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 28 Apr. 2016 <http: / /www.britannica.com /biography /shubun>.


"Sesshu". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 28 Apr. 2016 <http: / /www.britannica.com /biography /sesshu>.


"ukiyo-e". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 28 Apr. 2016 <http: / /www.britannica.com /art /ukiyo-e>.


"Nuances of Black and White." Japanese Ink Art. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. <http: / /academic.mu.edu /meissnerd /comella.html>.


"Hokusai". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 28 Apr. 2016 <http: / /www.britannica.com /biography /hokusai>.

Suiboku-ga / sumi-e Suiboku-ga, also called Sumi-e, “Ama-no-Hashidate” [Credit: Courtesy of the Kyoto National Museum]Japanese monochrome ink painting, a technique first developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960–1274) and taken to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks in the mid-14th century. Although generally content to copy Chinese models, early Japanese artists also excelled in the field of portraiture and figure painting. Suiboku-ga reached its height in the Muromachi period (1338–1573) with such masters as Sesshū Tōyō, whose landscapes were uniquely Japanese, and Sesson Shūkei, who worked in the far northeast of Japan ("suiboku-ga").
Tenshō Shūbun Shūbun's career represents an intermediate stage between the early suiboku-ga artists, who followed their Chinese models quite closely, and the later masters, many of them his pupils, who handled their materials in a thoroughly Japanese manner. Shūbun was affiliated with the Shōkoku-ji, a temple in Kyōto that was also the home of his painting teacher, Josetsu, and, later, of his most outstanding student, Sesshū. Shūbun became a professional painter around 1403, the year he went to Korea. After returning to Japan in the following year, he became the director of the court painting bureau, which had been established by the Ashikaga shoguns (family of military dictators who ruled Japan from 1338 to 1573), and, as such, used his influence to promote ink painting to the status of the official painting style ("Shubun").
Sesshū The next painter of note is significant for his formation of a style markedly different from that of the academy-trained painters that followed Josetsu and Shubun. His name was Sesshu, and his amazing technical ability resulted in some of the most striking ink monochromes of the era ("Nuances of Black and White"). Sesshū's Winter Landscape shows the use of stronger lines and more pronounced forms, yet it is still able to convey the concept of depth in a composition with the standard foreground, middle-ground, and background benchmark. His style is distinguished for its force and vehemence of brush stroke as well as by its intensity of conception ("Sesshū").
Transition to Edo Period: Sumi-e to Ukiyo-e Although suiboku-ga was popular well into the Tokugawa period (1603–1867), it soon lost its spontaneity and became formalistic in style ("suiboku-ga"). The popularity of sumi-e eventually fell in favor of ukiyo-e prints. Ukiyo-e, ( Japanese: “pictures of the floating world”) one of the most important genres of art of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867) in Japan. The style is a mixture of the realistic narrative of the emaki (“picture scrolls”) produced in the Kamakura period and the mature decorative style of the Momoyama and Tokugawa periods. The ukiyo-e style also has about it something of both native and foreign realism. These depicted aspects of the entertainment quarters (euphemistically called the “floating world”) of Edo (modern Tokyo) and other urban centres. Common subjects included famous courtesans and prostitutes, kabuki actors and well-known scenes from kabuki plays, and erotica. More important than screen painting, however, were wood-block prints, ukiyo-e artists being the first to exploit that medium. A new interest in the urban everyday world and its market motivated the swift development of ukiyo-e prints designed for mass consumption. Hishikawa Moronobu is generally accredited as the first master of ukiyo-e. The transition from single- to two-colour prints was made by Okumura Masanobu. In 1765 polychrome prints using numerous blocks were introduced by Suzuki Harunobu. The essence of the ukiyo-e style was embodied in the works of Utamaro, Hokusai, and Hiroshige ("ukiyo-e"). The polychrome nature of ukiyo-e also ushered in the era of multicolor landscapes, as opposed to the sumi-e monochromatic landscape paintings.
Hokusai and the "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" Hokusai, in full Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese master artist and printmaker of the ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) school. His early works represent the full spectrum of ukiyo-e art, including single-sheet prints of landscapes and actors, hand paintings, and surimono (“printed things”), such as greetings and announcements. Later he concentrated on the classical themes of the samurai and Chinese subjects. “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” Published from about 1826 to 1833, this famous series (including supplements, a total of 46 colour prints) marked a summit in the history of the Japanese landscape print; in grandeur of concept and skill of execution there was little approaching it before and nothing to surpass it later—even in the work of Hokusai’s famed late contemporary Hiroshige ("Hokusai").
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