拡大《Paradise under the Sea》

    AOKI Shigeru

    《Paradise under the Sea》

    1907  Oil on canvas

    Aoki Shigeru, who loved books, read widely in world mythology and created several works based on Japanese myths, including this one from the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters). Yamasachi-hiko has lost a fishhook belonging to his brother, Umisachi-hiko, and descends to the bottom of the sea to find it. There he sees the palace, glowing like fish scales, of the god of the sea, Wadatsumi, and a well at its entrance. A maid comes to draw water from the well, sees Yamasachi-hiko sitting in a tree, and calls Toyotama-hime, the sea god’s daughter. The woman in the red garment, exchanging glances with Yamasachi-hiko, is Toyotama-hime; the maid is in white, on the right. Toyotamahime and Yamasachi-hiko marry, and their son becomes the founder of the imperial family.
    The composition, with three figures arranged on the long, vertical picture plane, shows the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites in Britain, of whom Aoki learned through publications brought to Japan. Aoki also said that he was influenced by Gustave Moreau’s use of color. Aoki, far away in Japan, was acutely attuned to the characteristics of fin de siècle art in the West. He made this painting for the Tokyo Industrial Exhibition, in the spring of 1907. He left many paintings unfinished, but this one is an exception. Natsume Soseki saw it at the exhibition and wrote, two years later, in the novel Sorekara (And then), “At an exhibit the other day, someone named Aoki had a painting of a tall woman standing at the bottom of the ocean. Of all the entries, Daisuke had found this one alone to be pleasingly executed.”* * Translation by Norma Field.

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    《Paradise under the Sea》