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Sketch for the Portrait of Tachihara Suiken

Artist:
Watanabe Kazan (Japanese, 1793–1841)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
29 1/8 x 17 in. (74 x 43.2 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
The Harry G. C. Packard Collection of Asian Art, Gift of Harry G. C. Packard, and Purchase, Fletcher, Rogers, Harris Brisbane Dick, and Louis V. Bell Funds, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, and The Annenberg Fund Inc. Gift, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.268.114
Not on view
Tachihara Suiken was the father of a close friend of Kazan's. The completed work is now lost, but several surviving sketches reveal that the artist rejected the concealment of physical defects in favor of a sympathetic realism. In this sketch, the only embellishments that refer to the subject's social status are his sword and the book tucked into his robe. His shriveled mouth and unshaven chin, adroitly captured by the Western technique of chiaroscuro—which Kazan had studied—enhance the impression of intense self-determination made by this eighty-one-year-old samurai.
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