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Okyo Maruyama

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Maruyama Shijo painter
Japanese, (1733–1795)
Painter. Born at Anafuto in Tamba Province; son of a farmer. As a youth to Kyoto to study under the Kano master Ishida Yutei. Too poor to have had any formal education, was patronized by Yujo, head of the Emman-in, Otsu, and was able to study at the monastery, from 1765 to 1775, its collection of ancient paintings. (in 1766 took name of Okyo.) Became acquainted with Western perspective (to which he was first introduced when he saw a European peepshow) as well as with Ming and, especially, late Ch'ing painting; may also have owed something to Shen Nan-p'in. In 1793 contracted an eye disease but continued painting until he died. Painted a famous set of makimono for the Emman-in: Seven Calamities and Seven Felicities. Very important in history of Japanese painting: a popular, easily understood artist; founded the Maruyama school, in which his style, a combination of Muromachi suiboku and close, accurate observation of nature, was continued. Advised his pupils to sketch directly from nature; several of his own sketchbooks with detailed studies of nature still exist. By slanting his brush, able to make a graduated line that helped give an impression of realism, but his realism never allowed to interfere with the decorative aspect of his big, bold screens and is only comparative, being much less noticeable to a Westerner than to a Japanese. A vast number of forgeries and copies of his work. -- Roberts, L. Dictionary of Japanese Artists (1980)

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