I went to Himeji city museum of art last month. They exhibited the work of Sakai Houitsu, Japanese Painter in the 18th century. This year is the 250th anniversary of his birth, and many museums held exhibitions of his work which were selected from Japanese collectors' collections.
He was the second son of the family of old Himeji's Daimyo, the feudal lord, so this museum made a big exhibition series at the month. Himeji is in the west part of Japan, but he was actually growing up in Edo, which was in the east part of Japan and the actual capital city at that period. At that period, families of some Daimyo had to live in Edo city, because the governor called it them to prevent from riot. Sakai Houitsu created his work there, the biggest city in Japan. In addition, the job of family as Daimyo was taken charge by his elder brother. It made him enable to spend a lot of time for art and make connections with many artists and poets in Edo.
At the beginning, he preferred to paint beautiful women as known as Ukiyo-e style painting or ordinal Japanese painting such as flowers, landscapes. After that, he found the artwork by Ogata Korin, who was a Japanese painter in 17th century. Houitsu was strongly impressed by Korin, the creator 100 years before for him.
Korin’s way of art was different from Japanese traditional way of painting. For example, they laid weigh on the construction of things, flowers, trees and creatures on a screen, with their own intention. They sometimes used even abstracted shape of creatures. It was like a modern graphic design. Houitsu learned a lot of things from these old art and improved them by his own sense of art.
I’m very interested in this process. My profession is digital creation, making digital animations, designing web site and developing software. I think I can learn something for it from the past art and how Houetsu created art with his background. Off Couse, I also enjoy the beauty of his artwork.