Japan art and Yamamoto Baiitsu: Edo artist
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Japanese artist Yamamoto Baiitsu (1783-1856) was born in Nagoya. His father, Yamamoto Yumigiemon, was a sculptor. Hence, many areas of high culture were part of his upbringing.
Baiitsu is known to have adored Chinese art and culture. Also, he was open to many diverse influences and then adapted them to meet his own style. Therefore, similar to his artistic inspirations emanating from China and Japan, Baiitsu was also well versed in the cultural traits of both nations concerning poetry, the art of tea preparation, and other angles to high culture.
It is believed that he first studied art under Yamamoto Rani. Baiitsu developed his artistic skills through the knowledge obtained from the ideas of Cho Gessho (1770–1832) and Tanaka Totsugen (1767–1823). Thus the linkage between Cho Gessho and Yamada Kyujo (1747–93) left a lasting impression during his informative years.
The Met Museum says, “Baiitsu is best known for his meticulous and unfailingly elegant polychrome bird-and-flower paintings, perhaps learned while studying as a youth under the Shijō-school painter Chō Gesshō (1770–1832).”
However, the most potent mentor to Baiitsu that enabled his career to blossom was Kamiya Ten’yu (1710–1801). Ten’yu was a merchant and collector – and he patronized his art.
Baiitsu had a very personal and close friendship with the artist Nakabayashi Chikuto (1776-1853). They both left this world within a few years of each other.
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