Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Great Pines

Suzuki Shōnen (Japanese, 1849–1918)
Meiji period (1868–1912)
late 19th century
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on gold-leaf
Image (each): 68 1/16 in. x 12 ft. 1 3/16 in. (172.9 x 368.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The B. D. G. Leviton Foundation Gift, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.317.1, .2
Not on view
In East Asian culture pines are venerated as symbols of longevity and virtue. In both screens on display here, two giant pines, each set against a smoothly gilded background, lean markedly to the left. The composition as a whole, however, is balanced by the branches that reach toward one another. Flamboyant brushstrokes of coal-black ink define the hefty tree trunks and spiky pine needles that shine against the golden surface, resulting in a sense of powerful monumentality.

Together with his father, Suzuki Hyakunen, Shōnen was one of the leading painters active in Kyoto during the Meiji period. After the country became more open to the West in the second half of the nineteenth century, they made efforts to preserve the style of Japanese painting.
Signature: At the outer edges of both screens are an artist's signature that reads "Shonen Senshi hitsu" ('Brushed by Shonen Senshi') and two seals: "Suzuki Seiken" and Shonen Senshi."
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