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Peacocks and Peonies

Tani Bunchō (Japanese, 1763–1840)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
1820
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Dimensions:
60 1/4 x 34 3/4 in. (153 x 88.3 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Charles Stewart Smith Collection, Gift of Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith, Charles Stewart Smith Jr., and Howard Caswell Smith, in memory of Charles Stewart Smith, 1914
Accession Number:
14.76.51
  • Description

    A peacock with fanning tail feathers glances over its shoulder. The inscribed date, 1768, indicates that Ōkyo painted this work when he was only 36, a time when the artist was able to immerse himself both in the study of ancient paintings and in sketching plants and animals from life. Numerous albums filled with these drawings remain today.

    The result of these studies can be seen here in the incredibly careful brushwork used to apply the brilliant colors of the peacock’s feathers, the pale blue colors of the Chinese-style rocks, and the delicate hues of the peonies. Ōkyo has produced a stunning decorative image without particular concern for spatial depth. Perfecting shasei (drawing from nature) remained a lifelong pursuit for the artist.

  • See also
    Who
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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