Japanese art and Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858): Late Edo artist of Rinpa

Japanese art and Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858): Late Edo artist of Rinpa

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) created many stunning pieces of art. Ironically, despite belonging to the late Edo period, his stature continues to grow in the modern world.

In recent years in Japan, many refined art exhibitions have highlighted the majesty of Kiitsu. Thus, a new generation of art lovers in Japan could view his art at first hand in several cities, including Kyoto and Tokyo.

Like many esteemed artists, he taught rinpa (rimpa) to the next generation who would take his ideas into the modern period of Meiji. Of course, Kiitsu died a decade before the Meiji period (1868-1912). However, many of the artists he taught would take his ideas into the next dynamic period of Japanese history.

The founders of Rinpa were born before the Edo (Tokugawa) period began (1603-1868). This applies to Hon’ami Kōetsu (1558–1637) and Tawaraya Sōtatsu (1570-1640) who both were born in Kyoto. Therefore, the longevity of this art form and its rich cultural legacy in Japan is highly valued.

On the Met Museum website, it says, “… Kiitsu’s artistic style was characterized by vivid coloring, bold compositions, and opulent designs and was overflowing with a novelty that is still recognized to this day…”

Of utmost acclaim is Kiitsu’s original screens depicting nature through the prism of the enchantment of summer and spring. Indeed, when viewing the Morning Glories and Mountain Stream in Summer and Autumn, one can feel the power of nature and rinpa at its sublime best.



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