1909 Oil on canvas
Kuroda Seiki lived in a spacious residence in Hirakawacho, Tokyo. Its garden provided the subject for this painting, which Kuroda showed in the Ministry of Education Art Exhibition (Bunten), which he led. He must have painted this unostentatious work relatively quickly in moments between his many official duties. Having studied Western painting traditions in Paris, Kuroda certainly knew that the lily symbolized purity, but the painting shows no sign of his trying to share that meaning with Japanese viewers. Instead, we sense the emotional latitude he maintained at the center of the art world.