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17 facts about Kanō Tan’yū

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By Gwylym Owen

Kanō Tan’yū (狩野 探幽, 4 March 1602 – 4 November 1674) was one of the foremost Japanese painters of the Kanō school. His indigenous given declare was Morinobu; he was the eldest son of Kanō Takanobu and grandson of Kanō Eitoku. Many of the most well-known and widely known Kanō works today are by Tan’yū.

In 1617, Tan’yū was appointed by the Tokugawa shogunate to become the shogunate’s first recognized painter. Over the behind years, he was fixed many terribly prestigious commissions. Over the 1620s and 1630s, he created a number of large-scale works for Edo Castle, Nijō Castle, Osaka Castle, Nagoya Castle, and Nikkō Tōshō-gū.

Prolific in a variety of painting styles, Tan’yū’s most famous works are probably those he produced for these large-scale commissions. They are screens and panels, prime examples of the Momoyama style, depicting natural subjects such as tigers, birds and plants, in skilled colors and subsequent to extensive use of gold leaf. The gold, often used to represent clouds, water, or other background elements, would reflect what Tiny light was handy indoors, brightening a castle’s dark rooms.

Tan’yū was along with accomplished, however, in monochrome ink painting based on the prototypical style of the Muromachi period, yamato-e compositions in a style similar to that of the Tosa school, and Chinese style scrolls. His most famous yamato-e work is a narrative handscroll depicting the excitement of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shōgun and major figure in Japanese history. It was after this commission, in 1640, that the artist first took on the “artist name” of Tan’yū.

In adjunct to monster a intensely honored and highly thought of painter in his own right, Tan’yū was known as a collector and connoisseur of Chinese paintings. He made sketches and kept records of many of the paintings that passed through his studio, brought to him for authentication.

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