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The Akita Ranga artist Essay

“Dutch Learning” results to the proliferation of the Akita Ranga art school in Japan (Johnson 2005). The artists of the Akita Ranga tradition are influenced by the illustrations found in western books. The prevalence of Western books happened during the Tokugawa period wherein Japan undergone a national isolation. Nevertheless, trade with the Dutch are permitted. The Dutch bring with them books and information from the western world. Hiraga Gennai, a multitalented individual and has a wide variety of Dutch books collections was invited by Satake Shozen to Akita.

This invitation led to a meeting between Odano Naotake, a resident of Akita, and Gennai. Gennai “taught Naotake techniques of Western-style painting, particularly chiaroscuro and the technique of shading” (Freedman and Hernandez 1998). Also, Hiraga Gennai thought Odano Naotake “how to delineate objects by lightness and darkness of color, rather than by line alone as was customary Japanese painting” (Keene 1969). Naotake succeeded in incorporating Western-styles and Japanese traditions in his artworks. Naotake studied human proportions in the book Groot Schilderboek by Lairesse.

He learned about the Western perspective through looking into science books’ illustrations. Thus, upon the production of the first Western book translated to Japanese, “The New Book of Anatomy” by Sugita Genpaku and coworker, Naotake was chosen to illustrate the anatomical charts (Keene, 1969). Works Cited: Johnson, H. Western Influence on Japanese Art: The Akita Ranga Art School. Hotei Publishing. 2005. Freedman, K. J. and Hernandez, F. Curriculum, Culture, and Art Education: Comparative Perspectives. SUNY Press. 1998 Keene, D. The Japanese Discovery of Europe, 1720-1830. Stanford University Press. 1969.

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