Saturday, February 22, 2014


Yesterday, I taught the freshman about the Meiji Restoration. Primarily, in studying the Meiji Restoration you hear of how the West influenced Japan. Fun fact: Emperor Meiji’s cabinet was called the “Dancing Cabinet” because they were obsessed with western ballroom dancing. However, just like the Igbo culture, Japanese culture also had an enormous influence on Western art through the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
         I did a little experiment in my presentation with the freshman. I put these two works next to each other and ask them what nationality they thought the artists of the two works were.

           The first one they got right away—Japanese. It’s actually a traditional Japanese woodblock print. However, no one knew the second, which is The Courtesan by Vincent van Gogh c. 1887.

         Van Gogh coined the term “Japonaiserie,” which he used to describe the influence of Japanese art. In 1888, Van Gogh wrote “All my work is based to some extent on Japanese art…”

1 comment:

Kincy GIbson said...

I never knew that Japanese art had such an influenced on Van Gogh. I can definitely see it now though. My favorite works of his are his depictions of trees. He has a series of almond blossom trees that look so much like the Japanese cherry blossom trees in traditional Japanese art. I really like Van Gogh's work, especially his portraits. I saw one of his self portraits in the Muse D'orsay and was inspired by his loose lines and bright colors.