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Author Morland, Margaret Carol
Title Watanabe Kazan, 1793-1841: Tradition and innovation in Japanese painting. (Volumes I-III)
Descript 841 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 50-09, Section: A, page: 2683
Chairman: Paul Berry
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Michigan, 1989
This dissertation examines the life and painting of the literati artist and government official, Watanabe Kazan. Within this overview, I have focused on the way in which the training Kazan received in traditional styles and concepts of art underlay his approach to the new ideas and methods being imported from the West. While Kazan is most often characterized in Japan as harmonizing Western techniques of shading and perspective with traditional artistic ideals, I show that more than synthesizing the two traditions, he created works in which they are held in tense balance. The development of his style thus involved not only an increasing competence in Western techniques but more importantly, the ability to manipulate those techniques to powerful effect
The dissertation is organized thematically, with separate chapters devoted to figures, portraits, bird and flower paintings, and landscapes. Kazan's notebooks give a valuable picture of his day-to day life and the sources of influence for his style. I have found that a significant body of original paintings, both Chinese and Japanese, was available to Kazan; it was primarily through such paintings, rather than woodblock copies, that he became familiar with different styles. Kazan's choice of models was influenced strongly by his teacher Tani Buncho (1763-1840), himself an important early source for themes and brush techniques, and reflects a type of literati painting particular to the Kanto area in the nineteenth century
The increasing value Kazan came to place on naturalistic representation led him away from traditional models and towards more original interpretations. The balance he sought between elegance and shasei, or the reproduction of what the eye sees, is most successfully realized in his portraits. In his identification of the traditional concept of "true spirit" with a sense of an interior life, and in his projection of individual personality through a naturalistic depiction of facial features, Kazan greatly expanded the possibilities of portraiture. While Kazan's painting was firmly grounded in Edo culture of the nineteenth century, it also transcended individual time and place to help lay the foundation for the explosion of Western art and ideas in the Meiji period
School code: 0127
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 50-09A
Subject Fine Arts
Alt Author University of Michigan
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