Japan art and Kono Bairei (1844-1895)

Japan art and Kono Bairei (1844-1895)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Kono Bairei (1844-1895) belongs to the Edo and Meiji periods of Japanese history. However, his adorable art negates the enormous changes of this period.

The expansive art school of Maruyama-Shijo brought out the best in Bairei. Thus the flow of Kyoto, Koyasan, Nara, and other areas of high culture within the rich cultural dynamics of this part of Japan – is felt greatly.

Bairei produced amazing kacho-ga (depicting birds and flowers) art. Hence, he produced many stunning art pieces concerning nature and landscapes. Therefore, Bairei was embued with a sense of belonging.

The British Museum says, “Bairei studied the Maruyama style with Nakajima Raisho (1796-1871) and subsequently, with Raisho’s permission, the Shijo style with Shikawa Bunrin (1808-77). He was instrumental in the founding of the Kyoto Prefecture Painting School (Kyoto-fu Ga-gakko) in 1880… In addition to his various appointments in public art schools, Bairei taught in his private studio many of the leading painters of the fledgling Kyoto Nihonga school.”

His artistic pupils include Tsuji Kakō, Kawai Gyokudō, Kikuchi Hōbun, Takeuchi Seihō, and Uemura Shoen. Notably, the lovely art of Seiho witnesses the enormous influence of Bairei on this distinguished artist.

Bairei art school meant that his influence continued deep into the twentieth century. Thus the mild nature of his art inspired future generations – even if they eventually went on their respective paths.


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