Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/122

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Japanese Color-Prints

greatest and boldest of the Japanese impressionists, has been excellently appreciated by Gonse in his L'Art Japonais. He may, indeed, not unreasonably be called the most peculiarly Japanese of all the painters; certainly he is excelled by none in expressiveness. A reproduction of one of his flower-pictures is given by Anderson,[1] and one of his bird-pictures in Japanese Wood-Engraving, No. 8. The screen representing a troubled sea, given by Binyon (pl. 26), seems too heavy and mechanically regular to be his work. His numerous sketches of plants and animals, treated quite broadly and for the most part relieved with very little colour, were admirably reproduced by Hoitsu in facsimile woodcuts at the beginning of the nineteenth century. A list of these reproductions will be given in the next chapter. One of his chief titles to fame is his lacquer-work inlaid with mother-of-pearl and lead. Korin's brother, Kenzan, made himself especially famous for original and highly artistic decorations of faïence. Another teacher of Korin, Koyetsu, the friend of Sotatsu, already forms a transition to those artists who drew directly for wood-prints; though Fenollosa appreciates his taste highly, still he does not reckon him among the great painters of Japan, esteeming him only a dilettante. The book, Sanju rokkasen, the Six-and-thirty Poets (Gillot Catalogue), is by him; his chief activity likewise lay in lacquer-work. The other painters who drew for wood-engraving, beginning with Hishikawa Moronobu, will be treated in connection with this particular technique.

These decorative artists, who, however, according to Japanese ideas, were by no means sharply distinguished from those that represented loftier subjects, are characteristic of a period in which luxury had attained its highest point. The women, for instance, did not shrink from the labour of changing their dresses several times a day. Similar conditions obtained with regard to objects used by the male population.

  1. Pictorial Arts, i. 67.