Friday, November 11, 2016

Paradise Under The Sea Description

Shigeru Aoki was a Japanese painter, best known for his work in combining Japanese religious and cultural subjects, like legends and gods, with Western art, a movement which was thriving in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Paradise Under The Sea describes a legend in which a prince visits the kingdom under a sea and falls in love with the princess there. The painting technique, the tall frame, and the visible brushstrokes makes clear Shigeru's dedication to Western ideals. The brush strokes are visible, the paint is thick and not smoothed completely, and the features of the characters, especially the figure in red, is very similar to popular Western profiles at the time. Nevertheless, it is still a work based on Japanese mythology and legend.

After research I discovered that Shigeru did more than take inspiration from Western Impressionists. He also used a diving helmet and suit to make sketches on the play of light under water. The prince has shadowy skin and the light can be seen on the women's wet, translucent dresses. This is a brilliant example of the combination of Japanese work, Western impressionist ideals, and an almost mathematical and scientific obsession with reality and the play of light and shadow. This piece is currently housed in the Ishibashi Museum of Art in Kurume, Fukuoka.

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