Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest

korin ogataKōrin Ogata aka Ogata Kōrin was a Japanese painter of the Rinpa school decorative style based on the ancient Japanese painting style of yamato-e during the Edo Period (1603-1867); who were masters of influence for modern Japanese art. Kōrin was the son of a prosperous draper, born in the Japanese former capital of Kyoto in 1658. He studied under Soken Yamamoto, at the Kanō School, Tsunenobu and Gukei Sumiyoshi; and was greatly influenced by his predecessors Hon’ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu.

  • During his career, Kōrin broke away from all tradition and developed an original and distinctive style of his own, both in painting and in the decoration of lacquer.
  • In lacquer, Kōrin’s use of white metals and mother-of-pearl is notable; and he is particularly known for his gold-foil folding screens.

Korin died at the age of 59 on June 2, 1716.

  • A screen in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston entitled “Matsushima” is a particularly famous work; along with “Irises” at the Nezu Museum which is considered a “national treasure” of Japan.

Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest” … Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from Iris.

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