Kanzan Shimomura

Kanzan Shimomura

Kanzan Shimomura
Born Seizaburō Shimomura
(1873-04-10)April 10, 1873
Wakayama, Wakayama, Japan
Died May 10, 1930(1930-05-10) (aged 57)
Nationality Japanese
Known for Painter
Notable work Yoroboshi
Movement Nihonga
In this Japanese name, the family name is Shimomura.

Kanzan Shimomura (下村 観山 Shimomura Kanzan, April 10, 1873 – May 10, 1930) was the pseudonym of a nihonga painter in Meiji through to the early Shōwa period Japan. His real name was Shimomura Seizaburō.


Kanzan was born in 1873 in Wakayama city, Wakayama Prefecture into a family of hereditary Noh actors.

Having moved to Tokyo at the age of eight, Kanzan studied under Kanō Hōgai, and after Hōgai's death, under Hashimoto Gahō. He graduated first in his class at the Tōkyō Bijutsu Gakkō (the forerunner of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music), and became a teacher at the same institution in 1894.

When Okakura Tenshin left government service to establish the Japan Fine Arts Academy (Nihon Bijutsuin), Kanzan joined him, together with Yokoyama Taikan and Hishida Shunsō. However, Kanzan returned to his teaching post at the Tokyo Bijutsu Gakkō from 1901–1908, with a hiatus from 1903–1905, when he went to study in England.

From 1914, he helped reestablish the Japan Fine Arts Academy, and in 1917 was appointed a court painter to the Imperial Household Agency. He served as a judge for both the Bunten and the Inten Exhibitions.

In terms of style, Kanzan was influenced by the Rinpa and the Kanō schools, as well as early Buddhist paintings and Tosa school Emakimono. To these elements, he combined the realism developed from his exposure to western art works during his stay in England.

One of his representative works is a byōbu titled Yoroboshi or "The Beggar Monk" was created in 1915 in colored ink and gold leaf on paper. It is currently housed in the Tokyo National Museum, and is registered as an Important Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The screen depicts a scene from a famous Noh play of the same name. In the scene, blind monk, has been falsely accused of a crime. Disowned by his family he wanders about, living as a vagrant. Although he is now blind, he has become one with the universe and can see all that surrounds him. Kanzan borrowed heavily from Momoyama period and Edo period style and composition, and the work shows a strong Rimpa influence.

Notable works


External links

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