Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/112

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

and lofty grace; finally, in 1630, he entered upon a thoroughly realistic phase, which, by the force of its decorative effect and the careful elaboration of details, established a model never again attained in later years. From the popular or worldly nature of his subjects he received the epithet, Ukiyo (painter of the fleeting world), which was then transferred to this entire class of work as the popular style, the Ukiyo-ye, under which the whole school of wood-engraving is usually comprehended. Though Matahei himself was the first Japanese painter of non-noble descent, his creations were by no means of a common kind; on the contrary, that which made him celebrated was not so much the subjects that he chose, but rather, as in the case of the other eminent artists of his time, his creative gifts, the power, the individuality, the elevation, and the finish of his style.[1] It is true that no paintings exist which can with certainty be assigned to him: Professor Oeder possesses a very beautiful representation of a dancing girl; Binyon (pl. 24) reproduces another dancing girl, but this seems very doubtful. Fenollosa[2] reproduces a dancing and singing old man, painted about 1640-50, after Masatoshi, the son of Matahei.

Another incentive to progress was applied to the Kano school in the second half of the sixteenth century under the great Shogun, Hideyoshi (the Taigo), whose work was completed by his successor, Iyeyasu, the victor in the battle of Sekigahara, in 1600, and the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty. Nobunaga had overthrown the Ashikaga in 1574. On his death in 1582 he was succeeded by Hideyoshi, under whom the invasion of Korea by the Japanese took place (1592-98). In 1604 Iyeyasu followed him in the shogunate. We owe it to the influence of these two men that the ancient works of art were

  1. Fenollosa, Review, p. 30 ff.; the same, Cat., No. 1; Anderson Cat., p. 328; Binyon also spells his name Matabei, to distinguish him from another, lesser, Matahei.
  2. Outline, pl. 1.