Japanese art and the brief artistic life of Shigeru Aoki (1882-1911)

Japanese art and the brief artistic life of Shigeru Aoki (1882-1911)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Shigeru Aoki (1882-1911) blossomed quickly but family problems and then tuberculosis would soon take him from this world. Hence, the promising artistic flower of Aoki parted before even reaching 29. This sad reality means that nobody will ever know if Aoki would have diversified – or further developed themes that meant so much to him during his short artistic life.

It is known that his family opposed his desire to become an artist but the independent-minded Aoki still focused on his dream. Given this, he set off for Tokyo in 1899 with the dream of fulfilling his ambitions.

Aoki studied firstly under Koyama Shotaro and then under the noted artist Kuroda Seiki. At the same time, the convulsions of the Meiji period meant that new artistic pathways were open to individuals of great artistic talent. Therefore, Western-style art and ideas entered the artistic soul of Aoki.

Sadly for Aoki, he became embroiled in family issues and this impacted on his art from 1907 until his death in 1911. This means that his period of artistic growth was notably between 1900 and 1907, such a small amount of time to grow and develop.

The artwork titled Onamuchi-no-mikoto (above) by Aoki is a masterpiece based on the many dimensions that this art piece conjures up in your mind. Indeed, it is like time is standing still despite the ensuing problem at hand. Therefore, the attachment to the viewer is extremely strong by the eyes and expressions of the lady who is directly looking at you, while she holds one breast.

Overall, the mysteries of bygone days to Old Testament themes are fused with Western-style art. Yet, the blossoming artistic flower of Aoki would soon pass from this world once his health became blighted by tuberculosis.



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