Aged Pines

Suzuki Shōnen 鈴木松年 Japanese

Not on view

In East Asian cultures, pine trees 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, but the composition is balanced by the branches, which reach toward one another. Flamboyant brushstrokes of coal-black ink define the hefty trunks and spiky needles, resulting in a sense of powerful monumentality. Together with his father, Suzuki Hyakunen, Shonen 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 subjects and style of traditional Japanese painting.

Aged Pines, Suzuki Shōnen 鈴木松年 (Japanese, 1849–1918), Pair of six-panel folding screens; ink on gold-leaf, Japan

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