3 Painting Styles Native to Japan

Kuroda Seiki, Lakeside, 1897, oil on canvas, Kuroda Memorial Hall, Tokyo

One of the most famous art forms in Japan is Painting. Chinese painting technique has a lot of impact on the Japanese style of painting, and these are nice, beautiful, and sometimes quite complex or elaborate. In Muromachi’s period (1338-1573), the Chinese style of paintings was introduced or established in Japan due to the Chinese trade invasion. Noblemen of Japan began purchasing these Chinese paintings to decorate their homes. Japanese painters’ affinity for the Chinese paintings made them adopt the style for creating lovely masterpieces that would appeal to Japan’s taste. In other words, the Chinese style of illustrations was the forerunner for Japanese paintings.

Japanese painters who were in Muromachi’s period depicted a more profound sense of space, and every painting portrayed a fantasy. Painting on panoramas developed in the era of Momoyama (1573 – 1603), and these are normally depicted on massive screens. During Edo’s (1603 – 1867) period, a completely different painting surfaced where gold leaf backgrounds were distributed to the pictures to get a divine mosaic effect that belonged to the Western Medieval period. Ukiyo-e style of painting developed involving woodblock printing at the same time. Thus, Japanese illustrations are elegant in their medium of portrayal, and this makes them very captivating.

Japanese painting found inspiration from Western styles in the Meiji (1868 – 1912) period. Various painting schools were introduced in Japan. Suibokuga points to a picture that uses black ink for paintings. This had an unusual mark of Zen Buddhism.

Kano Motonobu (1476 – 1559) and this father Kano Masanobu built the Kano school for painting, which started in a revolution against the Suibokuga way of illustration using black ink. Kano school used bright and vibrant colors and did lots of trials with thick compositions with large and flat areas. These are the origin of stimulation for the patterns of Ukiyo-e. Nanga style of painting was very famous in the period of Bunka and Bunsai.

Here are a few painting styles Native to Japan:

Woodblock prints: The universe of woodblock prints was deeply affected by the changes ushered in through the Meiji period. The print medium had long served both general and connoisseur audience. With the arrival of mass-circulation newspapers, however, the latter group was co-opted. Designers and illustrators produced reportorial cartoons and images for newspapers, capturing the public demand for illustration but removing an extensive block of economic support from the old print publishers. 

Sculpture: Sculpture in the modern period was most prolific in the bronze medium. The Italian Vincenzo Ragusa, along with other international technical experts recruited in the late 1870s, significantly influenced teaching young Japanese artists in bronze casting. However, he privately despaired of their experiences at three-dimensional conceptualization. Japanese artists applied the new format to nonreligious subjects, including pictures and studies of unknown issues, to celebrate Japanese physical types. Takamura Kōtarō was mainly influenced by Auguste Rodin, Ogiwara Morie, who produced notably fine heroic figures.

Ceramics: In addition to the continuation of several traditional lineages, the most significant development in the modern period’s ceramics was the return to folk tastes. Yanagi Sōetsu espoused functionality, anonymity, and integrity to heal the age’s self-aggrandizement and industrialism characteristic.

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