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The craftsman
Vol. V, No. 4 (January 1904)

Noguchi, Yone
Seitei Watanabe,   pp. 386-389 PDF (1.2 MB)


Page 389


REALISTIC JAPANESE ART
Peonies drawn by Seitei Watanabe
THE UKIO-YE SCHOOL OF JAPAN-
ESE ART (1700-1867)
OWARD the middle of the seven-
        teenth century the first faint traces
        of an influence of Western picto-
        rial art became palpable. The
artist, Iwasa Matahei, was probably one of
the first who became interested in Occidental
laws of composition, his knowledge being
gathered largely from stray copper engrav-
ings which the Portuguese and Dutch
traders had brought with them to Japan.
  Although these experiments had at the
start no decided effect on the Japanese style,
they helped to free it more and more from
the shackles of Chinese tradition. The
artists were initiated into the laws of per-
spective and foreshortening; becoming ac-
quainted with the study from nature and
life as practised by Western artists.
  Iwasa Matahei, who became famous about
1640, was the first Japanese painter who
tried to represent realistic scenes. One of
the common people, he threw himself whole-
heartedly into study of the many entertain-
ing phases of simple life. The idyl of a
rustic love, the sports of children, the dance,
the songs, the display of crowded market-
places, and also the somewhat shadier sides
of life: these apepaled to him, overwhelmed
his enthusiasm and captured his dreams.
Such subjects justify the title of "Floating
World Pictures."
     -From Japanese A rts by Sadakichi Hartmann
389


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