拡大《Woman Sewing》

    KURODA Seiki

    《Woman Sewing》

    1890   Oil on canvas

    Kuroda Seiki went to Paris to study law, but, swayed by the artist Yamamoto Hosui, he changed direction, becoming a Western-style painter. He studied with Raphaël Collin, whose style combined traditional Academicism and the new plein air style, and gained such mastery that his work was selected for the Salon. Only 28 when he returned to Japan, he breathed fresh air into Western-style painting. Partly because of his position as the eldest son of a prominent former retainer of the Satsuma clan, he was invited to direct the newly established Western Painting Faculty at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. There he introduced the basic Western framework, including methods for studying painting and selecting themes, and played a major role in art circles in the latter half of the Meiji period.
    Kuroda painted this work while studying in France, in the village of Grez-sur-Loing, about seventy kilometers southeast of Paris, where he often stayed. This rural village, where lives were in harmony with nature, attracted many foreign artists, who could relax and create without constraint. Here the woman by the window, lost in her needlework, is Maria Billault, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the farm family from whom Kuroda rented a room. Maria often modeled for Kuroda and provided inspiration for him. The light pouring in from the window envelopes Maria’s body and gives the image a soft feel; we can see that Kuroda was tackling the question of how to handle light. Here we can also see an instance of the woman at work, a subject that Kuroda long favored.

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    《Woman Sewing》