Suzuki Kiitsu, Flowers and grasses of the Four Seasons, a pair of hanging scroll paintings

Japan
Edo period, AD 1840s

Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858) was a pupil of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), the last of the three great masters of the Rimpa school, who revived the style in Edo (Tokyo). Earlier Rimpa painters had depicted plants in a boldly stylized manner, but by the nineteenth century, a greater degree of naturalism had crept into the actual drawing of the flowers. However, the design of the paintings is still quite flat and formalized and the end result is highly decorative.

Kiitsu has used distinct outlines and bright primary colours, especially the brilliant azurite blue, (gunjō) which draws the eye to certain points on the scrolls. The effect is saved from harshness by the use of tarashi-komi where green paint has been dripped onto areas of black ink while it was still wet. This was a hallmark of Rimpa painting right from its beginnings in the early seventeenth century. The compositions of the two paintings complement each other perfectly. The right-hand scroll shows spring and summer flowers - aster, orchid, violet, thistle and lily - standing erect from the base; while on the left, the bushclover, narcissus, hibiscus, chrysanthemum and bellflower of autumn and winter intertwine more softly.

The signature reads 'Seisei Kiitsu' and the seal reads 'Shukurin'.

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More information

Bibliography

L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)

I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-2, vol. 3 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1993)

Dimensions

Height: 1032.000 mm
Width: 347.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP ADD715-6 (1982.7-1.028.1-2)

JCF8972

Ralph Harari Collection

Location

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