Kitao Masayoshi and Japanese landscape sketches: Edo Period

Kitao Masayoshi and Japanese landscape sketches: Edo Period

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Kitao Masayoshi (1764-1824) studied under Kitao Shigemasa (1739-1820) during his informative years. Masayoshi is also known under the name of Kuwagata Keisai around the 1790 period.

In this article, the images come from the book Sansui Ryakuga Shiki. Hence, all images are delightful landscape sketches.

The British Museum says, “Painter and print artist. Pupil of Kitao Shigemasa, later Kano Yosen’in Korenobu. Worked as an ukiyoe artist under the name Kitao Masayoshi, then became official painter to the daimyo of Tsuyama and worked in the Kano style using the name Kuwagata Keisai. During his period of activity as an ‘Ukiyo-e’ artist, Kitao Masayoshi produced mainly novelette illustrations. After 1794, however, when he became painter in attendance to the Tsuyama fief, he switched mainly to paintings and printed albums. He produced many instructional manuals on how to paint in ‘abbreviated style’ (ryakuga-shiki).”

The importance of Buddhism and Shintoism flows naturally. Likewise, nature and buildings fuse in a lovely way. Thus, a sense of contentment and serenity can be felt.

Masayoshi said – concerning his Abbreviated Drawing Method (ryakugashiki) – the purpose “…is not to offer forms but the spirit of what they represent. Since they don’t seek to embellish the shapes but rather simplify them…”

The esteemed Hokusai is known to have valued the ideas and art of Masayoshi. In time, he focused on different art forms outside of ukiyo-e in the later stages of his life. Therefore, these delightful landscape sketches are a treasure!

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