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Akita ranga@H“c—–‰ζ
CATEGORY:@art history / paintings
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Lit. Dutch paintings, ranga —–‰ζ, of Akita. A Japanese work in a European style produced by the earliest school of Western style painting (that is the school of Akita or Akitaha H“c”h, located outside of Nagasaki *Nagasakiha ’·θ”h. Akita ranga flourished in the domain of Akita (northern Honshuu –{B) during the late 18c. The style was a mixture of naturalistic detail and Western illusionistic methods, applied to traditional subjects such as birds and flowers. Compositions stressed a large foreground subject, modeled in light and shade, and often juxtaposed with a low, distant landscape. Akitaha artists used Japanese pigments on silk or paper with a coating of oil and resin. The three major painters of the Akita school are Satake Shozan ²’|ŒŽR (1748-85), the daimyou ‘ε–Ό of Akita, and his retainers, Odano Naotake ¬“c–μ’Ό• (1749-80) and Satake Yoshimi ²’|‹`ηZ (1749-1800). In 1773, Shozan invited Hiraga Gennai •½‰κŒΉ“ΰ (1729-79) to give advice on the fief's copper mines, and he also imparted his knowledge of Western artistic concepts and methods, including the use of highlights and shading. Later, Shozan sent Naotake to Edo where he stayed at Gennai's house for five years. Naotake not only learned about painting and Western book illustration from Gennai, but he also may have come into contact with Sou Shiseki ‘vŽ‡Ξ (1712-86), one of the leading painters of *Nanpinha “με_”h. In 1778, during a return visit to Akita, Naotake and Shozan wrote three essays entitled *GAHOU KOURYOU ‰ζ–@j—Μ (Summary of Painting Laws), GAZU RIKAI ‰ζ}—‰π (Understanding Composition). They were among the first theoretical writings on Western style painting by Japanese. Akita ranga is notable for its reliance on sketchbooks with detailed studies of flowers, birds, and insects drawn from life and used for finished paintings. From these sketchbooks, the Akitaha artists created many striking and inventive compositions, bound by a single stylistic approach. Because the Akitaha artists were not dependent on painting for a living, their distinctive works generally were not sold on the open market. However, the school may have affected other artists, for Naotake appears to have met Shiba Koukan Ži”n]ŠΏ (1747-1818; see *youfuuga —m•—‰ζ) in Edo. Despite Naotake's established reputation in both Akita and Edo, a tragedy struck in 1779. His mentor, Gennai, was sent to prison where he died and the disgrace engulfed all his close associates. Naotake was dismissed from his official position and died in the following spring. This resulted in the quick and effectual demise of the Akita school.
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