1887

n South African Journal of Art History - Black ink, white fog : the genius of Tōhaku Hasegawa

Volume 33 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0258-3542

Abstract

Could I ever forget first seeing Pine Trees, a pair of six-paneled folding screens by Tōhaku Hasegawa (1539-1610)? Created between 1593 and 1595 at the pinnacle of ink brush painting in Japan, the work depicts a delicate grove of pine trees enveloped in thick mist. In its tenuous compositional balance nothing seems superfluous nor lacking, appearing surprisingly fresh and contemporary in appearance. Historical details reveal how an ambitious Hasegawa shrewdly secured patronage at a time of fierce rivalry between established guilds, but his rise to fame rests foremost on his versatility and virtuosic mastery of the ink brush. Pine Trees is further uniquely insightful, because a disputed work with nearly identical composition was created in Hasegawa’s lifetime. Direct comparison avails artists and art historians today of a probe into Hasegawa the accomplished artist, his boldness, delicacy, overture, range, and sure hand, and more universally, as an instruction into the virtuosity achievable with ink painting as an art form.


Inkswart, deinsig wit: die meesterlike hand van Tōhaku Hasegawa
Kan ek ooit die eerste blik op Pine Trees, ’n stel van twee ses-paneel Japanese vou-skerms in die hand van Tōhaku Hasegawa (1539-1610) vergeet? Geskilder tussen 1593 en 1595 tydens die bloeitydperk van ink skilderwerk in Japan, beeld die werk ’n delikate dennebos omvou in digte miswolke uit. Geen aspek in die sensitiewe samestelling hier skiet tekort óf kom as oorbodig voor nie, maar vertoon verrassend vars en kontemporêr. Geskiedkundige gegewens onthul hoe ’n gedrewe Hasegawa teen gevestigde kunstenaarsgulde wedywer en vir homself begunstiging inpalm. Sy roem as kunsmeester rus egter eerstens op sy veelsydigheid en verruklike bemeestering van die skilderkwas. Pine Trees is verder buitengewoon insiggewend, danksy ’n betwisbare werk met bykans gelykvormige uitleg, geskep in Hasegawa se eie leeftyd. Vandag kan kunstenaars en kunsgeskiedkundiges die twee werke direk vergelyk om dieper begrip vir Hasegawa se tegniese bekwaamheid te bekom, en die virtuositeit van Japanese inkskilderwerk as kunsvorm beter te verstaan.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-1366565584
2018-12-01
2019-10-14

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