Kōrin was born in Kyoto, to a wealthy merchant who had a taste for the arts and is said to have given his son some elementary instruction therein. Kōrin also studied under Soken Yamamoto, the Kanō school, Tsunenobu and Gukei Sumiyoshi, and was greatly influenced by his predecessors Hon'ami Kōetsu and Tawaraya Sōtatsu.
Kōrin broke away from all tradition and developed a very original and distinctive style of his own, both in painting and in the decoration of lacquer. The characteristic of this is a bold impressionism, which is expressed in few and simple highly idealized forms, with an absolute disregard for naturalism and the usual conventions. In lacquer, Kōrin's use of white metals and of mother-of-pearl is notable; but here he followed Honami Kōetsu.
An artist of the Rinpa school, he is particularly known for his gold-foil folding screens. A screen in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston depicting Matsushima is a particularly famous work, and his "Red and White Plum Blossoms" in the MOA Museum of Art and "Irises" in the Nezu Museum are National treasures of Japan.
Korin died at the age of 59. His chief pupils were Kagei Tatebayashi and Shiko Watanabe, but the present knowledge and appreciation of his work are largely due to the efforts of Sakai Hōitsu, who brought about a revival of Kōrin's style.
- Japanese Irises screen (left) by Ogata Kōrin
- Japanese Irises screen (right)
- 光琳畫譜 (1801)
- 光琳百圖 (1868)
- 光琳 (1940)
- 国宝紅白梅図屏風 (1955)
- 光琳 (1965)
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128
- Randall, Doanda. (1960). Kōrin. New York: Crown. OCLC 1487440
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Edward Fairbrother Strange (1911). "Kōrin, Ogata". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Media related to Ogata Korin at Wikimedia Commons
- Bridge of dreams: the Mary Griggs Burke collection of Japanese art, a catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Ogata Kōrin (see index)