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10 most famous masterpieces of Japanese painting

Japanese painting has a very rich history; its tradition is vast, while Japan’s unique position in the world has largely influenced the dominant styles and techniques of Japanese artists. The well-known fact that Japan has been quite isolated for many centuries is due not only to geography, but also to the dominant Japanese cultural tendency toward isolation, which marked the country’s history. Over the centuries of the existence of what we could call “Japanese civilization,” culture and art developed separately from those in the rest of the world. And this is even noticeable in the practice of Japanese painting. For example, Nihong’s paintings are some of the main works of Japanese painting practice. It is based on more than a thousand-year tradition, and paintings are usually created with brushes on your (Japanese paper) or egin (silk).

10 most famous masterpieces of Japanese painting
However, Japanese art and painting were influenced by foreign art practices. At first, it was Chinese art in the 16th century and Chinese painting and the Chinese art tradition, which was especially influential in several aspects. As of the 17th century, Japanese painting was also influenced by Western traditions. In particular, in the pre-war period, which lasted from 1868 to 1945, impressionism and European romanticism influenced Japanese painting. At the same time, Japanese art techniques also significantly influenced the new European art movements. In the history of art, this influence is called “Japaneseism,” and it is especially significant for impressionists, cubists, and artists associated with modernism.

The long history of Japanese painting can be seen as a synthesis of several traditions that create parts of recognized Japanese aesthetics. First of all, Buddhist art and painting methods, as well as religious painting, left a significant mark on the aesthetics of Japanese paintings; water-carcass painting of landscapes in the tradition of Chinese literary painting is another important element recognized in many famous Japanese paintings; painting animals and plants, especially birds and flowers, is what is usually associated with Japanese compositions, as are landscapes and scenes from everyday life. Finally, ancient ideas about beauty from the philosophy and culture of Ancient Japan had a great influence on Japanese painting. Wabi, which means short-term and severe beauty, sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging) and yugen (deep grace and subtlety) still influence ideals in the practice of Japanese painting.

Finally, if we focus on choosing the ten most famous Japanese masterpieces, we should mention ukiyo-e, which is one of the most popular art genres in Japan, even though it belongs to the engraving. He dominated Japanese art from the 17th-19th centuries, while artists belonging to this genre created woodcuts and paintings with objects such as beautiful girls, Kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers, as well as scenes from history and folk tales, travel scenes and landscapes, flora and fauna and even eroticism.

It is always difficult to make a list of the best paintings from artistic traditions. Many amazing works will be ruled out; however, this list contains the ten most recognizable Japanese paintings in the world. In this article, only paintings created from the 19th century to the present will be presented.

Japanese painting has an extremely rich history. Over the centuries, Japanese artists have developed a large number of unique techniques and styles that are Japan’s most valuable contribution to the world of art. One of these techniques is sumi-e. Sumi-e literally means “ink drawing”, combining calligraphy and ink drawing to create a rare beauty of compositions drawn with brushes. This beauty is paradoxical – ancient, but modern, simple, but complex, bold, but subordinate, undoubtedly reflecting the spiritual foundation of art in Zen Buddhism. Buddhist priests brought solid ink briquettes and a bamboo brush to Japan from China in the sixth century, and over the past 14 centuries, Japan has developed a rich heritage of ink painting.
Scroll down and see 10 Japanese Painting Masterpieces

10 most famous masterpieces of Japanese painting
1. Katsushika Hokusai “The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife”
One of the most recognizable Japanese paintings is “The Dream of a Fisherman’s Wife.” It was written in 1814 by the famous artist Hokusai. If strict definitions are followed, this amazing work of Hokusai cannot be considered as painting, since it is a woodcut of the ukiyo-e genre from the book “Young Pines” (Kinoe no Komatsu), which is a three-volume shung book. The composition depicts a young ama diver entwined sexually with a pair of octopuses. This image was very influential in the 19th and 20th centuries. The work influenced later artists such as Felicien Rops, Auguste Rodin, Luis Ocock, Fernand Knopf and Pablo Picasso.

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