Art of Japan and Ikeda Koson: Hinoki Cypresses

Art of Japan and Ikeda Koson: Hinoki Cypresses

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Ikeda Koson (1803-1868) died in the year that modernization would take place in Japan. He belongs to the dying world of the Edo Period that was replaced by the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Hence, his earlier life was firmly based on the rich traditions of Japanese art. However, in the decades before the ending of the Edo Period, new artistic ideas were increasingly being felt in Japan.

Throughout his artistic life, the influence of Sakai Hôitsu (1761-1828) remained. Despite this, Koson would experiment and adopt a more free-flowing approach to art.

Koson’s stunning art of Hinoki Cypresses is delightful despite its relative simplicity. This concerns a sense of drama unfolding. Therefore, despite the subject matter being undramatic – along with the limited color scheme -a potent atmospheric art piece still emerges.

On the Met Museum website, it says, “In this dramatic close-up of a single landscape element, Ikeda Koson renders a timeless moment in a grove of hinoki cypresses. He depicts an atmosphere of misty space and shifting light by skillfully varying ink tones from black to gray in the leaves of frond-like branchlets. Texture and form result from the application of wet ink over pale washes on the tree trunks.”

Koson also excelled in ink painting.


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