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Japanese Art and Inspiration to Artists Around the World

The history of painting reaches far back in time, spanning all cultures, and developments in Eastern painting match those in Western painting, and African-, Indian-, Islamic-, Jewish-, Chinese and Japanese art have had tremendous influence on Western art.

Today Japanese contemporary art takes many forms, ranging from video games, paintings, architecture and advertisements, and although many artists still paint in the traditional manner with black ink and color on paper or silk, other artists are busy exploring new styles and forms.

Types of Japanese Art

The art of the Japanese has a long history, spanning the start of human kind in Japan right up to the present. It was Hasegawa Tohaku, born in 1539, known for his diverse talents who followed the romantic tradition of ink painting.

The popular art known as Ukiyo-e, has its beginning in earlier times. However at the end of the 19th century, Japanese art had sunk, the onset of Western influence seemed to have had a negative influence on it. It managed to recover, drawing on its ancient traditions for forms which are in harmony with modern trends.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Honnami Koetsu, born in 1558, amateur potter and calligrapher, took up cha-no-yo with some of the court nobles. He introduced a painter, Nonomura Sotatsu, who did the paintings for the paper on which the calligrapher transcribed poems. Nonomura found the inspiration for his paintings perpetuating the literary themes of the Heian period.

In the 18th and 19th centuries a group of artists became famous in the West with their subjects of themes from the theater, wrestlers and famous courtesans, landscapes and portraits of actors. The 19th century also produced artists who were fascinated with ghosts, demons and spirits.

European Artists Influenced by Japanese Works of Art

After Japan’s opening to the West in the mid 1800’s, Japanese artwork influenced European art and the Bing Gallery in Paris provided access to Japanese work that was previously unavailable, leaving an impression on European art. Japanese prints, water colors and wood blocks became popular, and painters like Hokusai were admired for their simple, naturalistic forms. The appreciation for Japanese artworks coincided with the European Impressionist movement and works by Impressionist and post-Impressionist painters reveal a strong Japanese influence.

Vincent van Gogh himself was influenced by this strong appreciation of Japanese works of art, and when he moved to Paris he collected many Japanese prints and copied two of Hiroshige’s paintings, one of which was ‘Sudden Shower over Ohashi Bridge’. The art of the Japanese is also particularly appreciated by those people who want to better understand East Asian history.

Galleries Include Works by Giants like Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro Among the best fine art galleries in the Western world, you will find Asian art which includes Indian-, Japanese- and Chinese painting and sculpture. Today, people want news about Japanese artists who actually make news, and art newsletters profile artists and their works, major international exhibitions, auctions and events, keeping fans and collects up to date with Asian art and so much more.