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.


Above image is:  a folding gold-foil-backed screen entitled kaki-tsubata-zu byobu (aka Folding screen with Irises) from Nezu Art Gallery, Tokyo.
The characteristic of this is of bold Impressionism, which is expressed in few and simple highly idealized forms, with an absolute disregard for Naturalism and its usual conventions.
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