Zwei Schneekiefern mit zwei Kranichen | Maruyama Ōkyō 円山応挙 | 1733-1795

Two snow pines with two cranes | Maruyama Ōkyō 円山応挙 | 1733-1795

Maruyama Ōkyō is the most influential painter of the 18th century: he was the most sought-after artist of his time (large works by him are still extremely expensive today), he had a large number of students, many of whom went on to have impressive careers, and he decisively placed Japanese painting on a new footing. During his intensive contact with European painting, he studied Western perspective, pursued an almost scientific study of nature in order to master the craft of a realist, and worked with light and shadow like no other painter before him. A double screen with pine trees is considered an outstanding masterpiece in the treatment of light (see image quote), because the old motif of the pine tree has found a new formulation here - the combination of naturalism and the traditional use of the gold ground.

This scroll painting was painted using exactly this light/shadow approach. Two pine trees (contemporary Confucianists see them as "man and woman" or "yin and yang") are placed in portrait format, almost in dialogue, with the sculptural direction and rotation of the branches.

The larger pine tree also forms a canopy for a pair of cranes (again, probably “male and female”), and this winter idyll of the tree and bird pairs is warmed by a only half-outstanding, but intensely red morning sun.

Dimensions: 49cm x 183cm | Material: silk

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