Japanese Artist Shiba Kōkan (1747-1818) and Impact of Dutch and European Art
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Shiba Kōkan is a fascinating artist and individual of high intellect. He lived during the Edo Period in Japan but he was open to learning from Western art forms. This notably applies to elements of Dutch influence in the area of oil paintings and in relation to themes that he painted.
Shiba Kōkan also focused on astronomy from a Western perspective and this further highlights the many unique traits that belong to him. Indeed, he involved himself in Dutch Studies and focused on Western astronomy from a deep knowledge base. The book he wrote on the complex theories of Nicolaus Copernicus illuminates the upshot of his immense knowledge.
In his early artistic life, Shiba Kōkan studied at the highly esteemed Kano School. Equally important, he admired Suzuki Harunobu and So Shiseki. However, the influences that guided him did not crush his free spirit. Therefore, he explored and created new concepts within his own art.
The flow of art and astronomy – and a host of other natural talents – enabled this creative thinker to move from the norms of art during this period of Japanese history. This is clearly notable by the distinctive nature of areas of his art and the scientific knowledge that enabled him to see the world through different eyes.
Overall, the rich legacy of Shiba Kōkan is based on the multi-dimensions that imbued his passion for knowledge. Similarly, he did not fear to challenge and create new styles of art in the natural settings of Japan – while, equally, admiring important individuals like Suzuki Harunobu and being open to Dutch art.
It is hoped that this brief article about Shiba Kōkan will intrigue individuals to read more about this individual of many talents.
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Some Japanese art and cultural articles by Modern Tokyo Times are republished based on our growing international readership and the need to highlight the unique traits of Japanese culture.