two black and orange birds perched in the lower limbs of a tree branch; wispy, willowy branches interspersed with pink and purple flowers

Swallow's Song in Spring Breeze, 1852, 3rd lunar month

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Tsubaki Chinzan overcame tremendous adversity to become one of the leading Chinese-style painters in Japan in the 1800s. His father died when he was only seven, leaving him and his mother destitute. Perhaps because of their sordid living conditions, he suffered from a pulmonary disease from a young age. Nevertheless, he eventually earned the minor military rank of spear bearer and was highly skilled in martial arts. Only after the low wages of this official rank forced him to seek additional income did he become a professional artist. He studied with the renowned painter Watanabe Kazan (1793–1841), who integrated elements of Western realism into his work. Here, Chinzan’s close attention to natural detail probably reflects that influence. The light, lyrical impression created by the “boneless” method (painting forms with only ink and color washes instead of outlines) and lush color tonalities, however, reflects Chinzan's own artistic sense and consummate skill with the brush.

Details
Title
Swallow's Song in Spring Breeze
Artist Life
1801 - 1854
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2015.79.153
Catalogue Raisonne
Murase, Art through a Lifetime, no. 379
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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two black and orange birds perched in the lower limbs of a tree branch; wispy, willowy branches interspersed with pink and purple flowers