Cherry Blossoms

Matsumura Goshun Japanese

Not on view

Spring breezes suffuse the atmosphere of this realistic yet lyrical vision of fragile blossoms on the branch of an ancient cherry tree. One of the most familiar images in Japanese art, the blossoming cherry has deep roots in Japanese culture. Outings to view the short-lived blossoms were a long-established popular pastime, and this work poignantly captures the effect of a leisurely stroll beneath a cherry tree on a spring afternoon.

Although its composition is adapted from the conventional depiction of plum blossoms in Chinese ink paintings, Goshun's painting is notable for the combination of poetic lyricism inspired by haikai verse, learned from his painting and poetry teacher Yosa Buson (1716–1783), with the naturalism and threedimensional effects developed by Maruyama Okyo (1733–1795). In 1782 he adopted the name "Goshun" that appears on this painting, and five years later, in 1787, he took up Okyo as his new mentor. This painting, which still preserves a large measure of Buson's lyricism, should be dated shortly after that date.

Cherry Blossoms, Matsumura Goshun (Japanese, 1752–1811), Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper, Japan

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