- 美学 (ISSN:05200962)
- vol.20, no.2, pp.10-39, 1969-09-30 (Released:2017-05-22)
Okyo Maruyama (1733-95) was the first to profess himself to be a realist in the history of Japanese pictorial art. Having studied the western method of the perspective through "Megane-e" picture, he was forced to face consciously with Japanese tradition in respect to the materials, motifs, and sense of space in the course of painting. There may be found in this point the primary moment in building up his original style. In his later years, however, he went through the process of returning to the tradition. Therefore, my attempt in this paper is to follow the development of his style, study every stage in his life, and contemplate some problems inherent in his style. For a chronological order I have made use of not only his 214 pieces of work, including 197 whose painting dates are already made public, but also his early works bearing his sign alone. By analysing the style of Kacho-ga (paintings of flowers and birds) which are typical of each period, I have divided 45 years of his activity (from the age of 17 to 63) into four periods. His style is considered to have been established by 1765 when he painted "Sessyo-zu" (a pine-tree covered with snow). The following period ending in 1776 was the style-developing stage. Reformations in his style were perfected in 1777 and years of maturity followed down to 1791. The final stage continued thereafter until his death in 1795. Okyo entered upon his career with taking lessons in the Kano school. After studying perspective, he aimed at the three-dimensional expression of the objects. The next period began at the time when the purpose was realized in "Sessyo-zu". He succeded gradually in building up his unique style which shows decorative composition of objects painted as they really are : "Fuji-zu" (wisteria) is an artistic perfection in this period. His interest in drawing lines appeared in the third period, developing itself into a plain composition by simplified forms, and this trend was accelerated in the course of Shoheki-ga age after 1784. In the fourth stage lines and stuctuctural power grew stronger than ever, and with the drying up of his sentiment he was seen, under his concentrated power of construction, to go back to the "Kanga" style showing structural space with a tinge of the Kano school. Considered from these developments, it seems that Okyo adopted the method of perspective only as a mean of visual effects without understanding the lying rationalism of western science. I have examined what bearing this fact has on the current thought of later Edo period and particularly on the pictorial ideas of Okyo.