Meiji Art Techniques

Among the early Meiji artists who were studentsof Fontanesi was Asai Chu. Asai became an advanced painter, who later founded the Meiji Art School In his Kotaba Village, Asai had used the technique taught by Fontanesi of placing a tree in the center of the painting. The tree branches spread out, touching the edge of the canvas. Moving towards the foreground, we see that the artist used shading in tones of black and gray to create space. The dark black can be seen on the house at left. The gray tone is shone as spots on the ground that could either be shadows or the artist's attempt to show the roughness of the ground.
Other techniques can be seen in Mallard Still Life by Iwahashi. Here Iwahashi shows a duck hanging head down with one of its feet and wing tied together. Behind the duck is a wooden wall with the duck's shadow casting on it. Although in this painting the artist uses little modeling, there is evidence that Iwahashi used this technique. For example in the area between the body of the duck and the wing Iwahashi darkens it by using a light tone of black to create a sense of volume and shadow. The shadow of the duck casting on the wall is quite effective in creating a sense of space and three-dimensionality. The shadow itself consists of different shades of black. On careful observation, the outer edge of the shadow is a light grayish black that gets darker inside. Also notice the light reflecting on the duck's belly adding to the realistic appearance that Meiji artists want to achieve.

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