Yōga (art)

Yōga (art)

nihongo|Yōga|洋画| Yōga or literally "Western-style paintings" is a term used to describe paintings by Japanese artists that have been made in accordance with Western (European) traditional conventions, techniques and materials. The term was coined in the Meiji period, to distinguish such works from indigenous traditional Japanese paintings, or nihongo|Nihonga|日本画|nihonga.

Materials

"Yōga" in its broadest sense encompasses oil painting, watercolors, pastels, ink sketches, lithography, etching and other techniques developed in western culture. However, in a more limited sense, "Yōga" is sometimes used specifically to refer to oil painting.

History

European painting was introduced to Japan during the late Muromachi period along with Christian missionaries. Early religious works by Japanese artists in imitation of works brought by the missionaries can be considered some of the earliest forms of "Yōga". However, the policy of national seclusion introduced by the Tokugawa bakufu in the Edo period effectively ended the influence of western art on Japanese painting, with the exception of the use of perspective, which was discovered by Japanese artists in sketches found in European medical and scientific texts imported from the Dutch via Nagasaki.

In 1855, the Tokugawa "bakufu" established the "Bansho Shirabesho," a translation and research institute for western studies, including a section to investigate western art. This section was headed by Kawakami Togai, whose assistant Takahashi Yuichi was a student of English artist Charles Wirgman. Takahashi is regarded by many as the first true Yōga painter.

In 1876, the "Kobu Bijutsu Gakko" (Technical Art School) was established by the Meiji government as Japan's first dedicated "Yōga" art school. Foreign advisors, such as the Italian artist Antonio Fontanesi, were hired by the government to teach Japanese artists, such as Asai Chu in the latest western techniques.

In the 1880's, the general reaction against Westernization and the growth in popularity and strength of the "Nihonga" movement caused the temporary decline of "Yōga". The "Kobu Bijutsu Gakko" was forced to close in 1883, and when the "Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko" (the forerunner of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music) was established in 1887, only "Nihonga" subjects were taught.

However, in 1889, the "Meiji Bijutsukai" (Meiji Fine Arts Society) was established by "Yōga" artists, and in 1893, the return of Kuroda Seiki from his studies in Europe gave fresh impetus to the "Yōga" genre. From 1896, a Yōga department was added to the curriculum of the "Tokyo Bijutsu Gakko", and from that point onwards, "Yōga" has been an accepted component of Japanese painting.

Since that time, "Yōga" and "Nihonga" have been the two main divisions of modern Japanese painting. This division is reflected in education, the mounting of exhibitions, and the identification of artists. However, in many cases "Nihonga" artists also adopted realistic Western painting techniques, such as perspective and shading. Because of this tendency to synthesize, although "Nihonga" forms a distinct category within the Japanese annual "Nitten" exhibitions, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to draw a distinct separation in either techniques or materials between "Nihonga" and "Yōga".

ee also

*List of Yōga Painters
*Ranga (art) - "Dutch pictures", the Edo period predecessor to "yōga".

References

* Keene, Donald. "Dawn to the West". Columbia University Press; (1998). ISBN: 0231114354
* Mason, Penelope. "History of Japanese Art ". Prentice Hall (2005). ISBN: 0131176021
* Sadao, Tsuneko. "Discovering the Arts of Japan: A Historical Overview". Kodansha International (2003). ISBN: 477002939X
* Schaarschmidt Richte. "Japanese Modern Art Painting From 1910 ". Edition Stemmle. ISBN: 3908161851
* Weisenfeld, Gennifer. "MAVO: Japanese Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1905-1931". University of California Press (2001). ISBN: 0520223381


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