Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tohaku Hasegawa in My Style - 自分好みの長谷川等伯とは



I went to the National Museum in Ueno for the special exhibition of Hasegawa Tohaku that was to end in a few days. The line of waiting was said 2 hours in the morning, but when I arrived at three o’clock, I had to wait only for an hour. I have no idea why so many people are attracted with him now. In my case, it was merely because I didn’t have time to see his exhibition in Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto as time was running out when I traveled there, and I thought I would try it next time. The museum was not so comfortable as I was watching people’s heads more than the paintings, but still I thought I managed to capture some implications of Tohaku, and I left the place quickly with this harvest in hand.

One of Tohaku’s features is the sense of graphic designing. There were some paintings where symbolically identical flowers are placed in a regular order in the entire space or the square foils cover the surface in the same manner regularly, and such a basis was definitely one of composing elements that looked almost transparent.
Another remarkable feature was his very wide diversity. He draws nicely in the traditional style of Chinese monochrome drawing, and the next thing is willow trees that look nothing but surreal. His touches of paintbrush are not exactly precise but roughly strong. His way of placing unconspicuous white color is just marvelous, and his fading gradation is impressive. Often, he appears as a modern artist rather than a painter who lived nearly 500 years ago.
Those were the thoughts that ran in my mind, and the work that impressed me the most was the Pair Screens of Bushclover and Japanese Pampas Grass. I am not sure if this expresses the characteristic features of Tohaku the most, but this can simply be considered a painting of today as we live.

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