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Great Pines

Suzuki Shōnen (Japanese, 1849–1918)

Period:
Meiji period (1868–1912)
Date:
late 19th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on gold-leaf
Dimensions:
Image (each): 68 1/16 in. x 12 ft. 1 3/16 in. (172.9 x 368.8 cm)
Classification:
Screens
Credit Line:
Purchase, The B. D. G. Leviton Foundation Gift, 2003
Accession Number:
2003.317.1, .2
  • Description

    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.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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