Studio: international art — 3.1894

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Studies by Japanese Artists

STUDIES BY JAPANESE ARTISTS notes which sometimes are appended relate
BY FRANK DILLON solely to the colour, and are interesting as showing
that these careful sketches were intended to be
Our acquaintance with the art of elaborated into complete works, and were probably
Japan has until a recent period been so studies for kakemono, or hanging pictures,
limited that a serious investigation of its merits The date above referred to may be defined as
and an inquiry into its growth and development the classic period of Japanese art. Borrowed from
is attended with considerable difficulty, and even the Chinese, and passing through Corea as the
now the method of study pursued by Japanese channel of communication, the art of Japan soon
artists is frequently misunderstood. acquired a distinctive character and development,
It is with the view of correcting in some measure exhibiting qualities that gave a promise of excel-
the direction which this false estimate has' taken lence that has only recently received a check
and the erroneous conclusions arrived at by super- through the inroads of Western civilisation. It
ficial observers, that this brief essay, and the illus- must, however, in fairness be admitted, that while
trations which accompany it, is here presented to there has undoubtedly been a period of decay,
the reader. nothing like extinction has ensued, and even up to
The popular notion that Japanese artists do not the present time works are produced which, if not
make their studies direct from Nature arises of a high order, bear evidence that the germs of
probably from the fact that they themselves under- their former excellence are still alive, and that the
value these first efforts, and regard them rather in genius of the people may yet be awakened from its
the light of patterns to be thrown aside when the slumber. The love of natural scenery, the fondness
purpose they subserve has been completed. It is for birds and flowers, and the tasteful adornment
for this reason that they bear no signature and are of their simple dwellings, so eminently character-
usually undated, so that in the case of the present istic of the Japanese people, all point to an artistic
series we possess no clue to their origin, and can faculty which, if not specially lofty in its aim, must
only guess from certain peculiarities of style that always command our sympathy and admiration,
they date from the end of the last or the beginning The limitations of their art should not blind us to
of the present century. a sense of beauty which has permeated their inner

■ \ iT) .x tr

" wild orange "

III. No. 14.—May, 1894

reduced from the original drawing

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