garon 画論
KEY WORD : art history / painting
 
Ch: hualun. Discourses on Painting. Writings on painting theory, criticism, principles or classification, also including books on painting subjects, history and biographies of painters. A key component in the development of Chinese and Japanese painting, garon served to stimulate the creation of new styles and approaches to painting as well as to provide historical and theoretical rational for extant paintings. The origin of garon can be traced to the discussion of painting in Chinese philosophical texts of the Spring and Autumn period, but the real beginning of the genre can be found in the Six Dynasties text Lunhua (Jp: RONGA 論画 ) by Gu Gaizhi (Jp: Ko Gaishi 顧ィ之, ca.344-ca.406). Important early Chinese garon include the Guhua Pinlu (Jp: KOGA HINROKU 古画品録) by Xie Ho (Jp: Sha Kaku 謝赫), famous for its discussion of the Six Laws *rikuhou 六法 much discussed in later Chinese and Japanese garon, and Zhang Yenyuan's (Jp: Chou Gen'en 張彦遠) Lindai Minghuaji (Jp: REKIDAI MEIGAKI 歴代名画記). In Japan there were no real garon until the 17c when a number of texts were produced in response to Chinese models. However, early discussions of artists and painting styles can be found in the Broom Tree *Hahakigi 帚木, chapter of Murasaki Shikibu's 紫式部 GENJI MONOGATARI 源氏物語 (The Tale of Genji, ca.1010 ; see *genji-e 源氏絵), and the eleventh section of Tachibana Narisue's 橘成季 anthology of narrative stories setsuwa 説話, KOKONCHOMONJUU 古今著聞集 (Stories Heard from Old and New Writers) of 1254. The 15c text *KUNDAIKAN SOUCHOUKI 君台観左右帳記 is a connoisseur manual including classification and notes on the display of Chinese paintings in the collection of the Ashikaga 足利 shogunate. Written in the first years of the 17c, Hasegawa Touhaku's 長谷川等伯 (1539-1610) *TOUHAKU GASETSU 等伯画説 (Touhaku's Explanations of Painting), which includes the artist's opinions on Chinese Song and Yuan painting *sougenga 宋元画 as well as on earlier Japanese works, is usually considered the first Japanese garon. In the mid 17c, the dual stimuli of garon imported from China *HASSHU GAFU 八種画譜 and *KAISHIEN GADEN 芥子園画伝 and the need for competing painting schools to pass on knowledge and to legitimize their positions by grounding their painting methods in theory led to the creation of numerous garon. The first scholar to attempt to create an art history was Kanou Ikkei 狩野一渓 (1599-1662), whose *KOUSOSHUU 後素集 (1623) introduced Chinese painting theory and includes a massive catalogue of Chinese painting subjects, and whose *TANSEI JAKUBOKUSHUU 丹青若木集 (ca. 1648-55) is a biography of 153 artists beginning in the Muromachi period. Kanou Sosen's 狩野素川 (also known as Nobumasa 信政, 1607-58) no longer extant *TOKAI HOUKAN 図絵宝鑑 was an even more detailed biography, as is *GAKOU BINRAN 図工便覧 (ca.1680). Continuing in this tradition Kanou Einou's 狩野永納 (1612-97) *HONCHOU GASHI 本朝画史 set new standards for the study of painters and paintings. Kanou Yasunobu's 狩野安信 (1613-85) *GADOU YOUKETSU 画道要訣 (1680) and Tosa Mitsuoki's 土佐光起 (1617-91) *HONCHOU GAHOU TAIDEN 本朝画法大伝 (1690), intended to pass on the secret teachings of the two competing schools, show a skillful adaptation of Chinese painting theory to the Kanou and Tosa ideologies, respectively. These 17c garon provided the groundwork for a wide range of later garon used to bolster the already flourishing *ukiyo-e 浮世絵, *nanga 南画, and *youfuuga 洋風画 lineages. For instance, Nishikawa Sukenobu's 西川祐信 (1671-1751) *GAHOU SAISHIKIHOU 画法彩色法 (included in EHON WABIGOTO 絵本倭比事, 1742) shows the conscious attempt of ukiyo-e artists to link themselves to the *yamato-e やまと絵 tradition. Kuwayama Gyokushuu's 桑山玉州 (1746-99) GYOKUSHUU GASHU 玉州画趣 (1790) and *KAIJI HIGEN 絵事鄙言 (1799) seek to show the creative interpretation of the Chinese Southern School *nanshuuga 南宗画. Satake Shozan's 佐竹曙山 (1748-85) *GAHOU KOURYOU 画法綱領 (1788) and Shiba Koukan's 司馬江漢 (1747-1818) *SEIYOU GADAN 西洋画談 (1799) look at painting from the viewpoint of Western naturalism. BANSHI 万紙, the notes of the Enman-in 円満院 abbot Yuujou 祐常 (1723-73), and Oku Bunmei's 奥文鳴 (d. 1813) SENSAI MARUYAMA-SENSEI DEN 仙斎円山先生伝 (1801) record Maruyama Oukyo's 円山応挙 (1733-95) ideas on drawing from life. The 19c saw a spate of garon on southern-school painting as well as massive gaden 画伝 or painters' biographies. For instance, in *GADOU KONGOUSHO 画道金剛杵 (1801) and CHIKUTOU GARON 竹洞画論 (1802), Nakabayashi Chikutou 中林竹洞 (1776-1853) argued against Western and Maruyama-Shijou style painting *Maruyama-Shijouha 円山四条派 from the standpoint of orthodox Chinese literati theory and technique. Tanomura Chikuden's 田能村竹田 (1777-1835) *SANCHUUJIN JOUZETSU 山中人饒舌 (1813) is a Chinese style combination of anecdotes together with admonitions on painting methods. Watanabe Kazan's 渡辺華山 (1793-1841) letters to Tsubaki Chinzan 椿椿山 (1801-54) and Chinzan's disciple Yoshida Ryuukei 吉田柳けい (fl. ca. 1840-50), written in 1845-46, show the serious attitude of southern school artists to the study of garon. On the other hand, Keisei Eisen's 渓斎英泉 (1753-1811) YAMATO ESHI UKIYO-E NO KOU 和絵師浮世絵之考 in MUMEI ZUIHITSU 無名翁随筆 (in ZOUHO UKIYO-E RUIKOU 増補浮世絵類考; 1833) defends the position of ukiyo-e artists and criticizes the practice of making *funpon 粉本 (copybooks). Oota a Nampou's 太田南畝 (1749-1823) *UKIYO-E RUIKOU 浮世絵類考 (ca.1789), Asaoka Okisada's 朝岡興偵 (1800-56) *KOGA BIKOU 古画備考 (ca.1845-50) and Hori Naotada's 掘直格 (1806-80) *FUSOU MEIGADEN 扶桑名画伝 (ca.1854) all show the late Edo predilection for comprehensive biographies.
 
 

 
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