Kano Michinobu (1730-1790) and Japanese art
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Kano school of art blessed Japan for many centuries after the founding fathers were born in the fifteenth century. However, like all traditional art forms, the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and endless modernization would eclipse the longevity of Kano artists. Despite this, the legacy remains firmly embedded within modern Japan when it comes to high culture.
Kano Michinobu (1730-1790) at a very early age was left to carry on the line because of deaths within this art school in 1731. Yet, the circumstances meant that he wouldn’t meet the Shogun until 1741 because of his tender age. Hence, because of the circumstances of events during his early life, he would become the “inner painter” of the Japanese shogun in 1763 based on the firm relationship they had.
Michinobu was highly respected by Shogun Tokugawa Ieharu and obviously this opened-up many new doors for this artist. At the same time, Michinobu rekindled the Kano school to a very important degree. He did this by bold brush strokes and knowing the changing times. Equally important, the support of Tokugawa Ieharu strengthened the hand of Michinobu in relation to furthering the cause of the Kano School to other patrons.
Indeed, Michonobu utilized the shogun in order to restore the prestige of the Kano school. After all, before Michinobu the famous Kano school appeared to be in decline and destined to be eclipsed. Therefore, Michinobu worked with great stealth because his astuteness understood the gift that was presented to him by the shogun.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art says, “The Kano school was the longest lived and most influential school of painting in Japanese history; its more than 300-year prominence is unique in world art history.”
Of course, in time the Kano school would wane but Michinobu maintained that this famous school would remain potent based on prestigious backers. Hence, his legacy is rightly remembered for restoring the prestige of this school throughout the last half of the eighteenth century.
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