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Kuroda Seiki: Who is the painter that Google Doodle is celebrating today?

Sonja Tutty

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Kuroda Seiki: Who is the painter that Google Doodle is celebrating today?

Google Doodle is celebrating Japanese artist Seiki Kuroda today whose paintings have left an inspiring impression on the art world.

The Doodle comes on the 156th birthday of Kuroda, who was born in 1866 in Kagoshima, Japan. Kuroda was one of the most influential artists and is known as the father of Western-style paintings in Japan.

Kuroda was adopted by his paternal uncle -a viscount - who had chosen him as an heir, and Kuroda moved onto his estate in Tokyo.

At age 18, Kuroda traveled to Paris to study law and was planning to stay there for a decade. Although he had enjoyed painting growing up - he only ever considered it a holiday. Then in 1886 Kuroda attended a party for Japanese nationals in Paris where he met the painters Yamamoto Hōsui and Fuji Masazō and art dealer Tadamasa Hayashi who urged him to take up painting.

The party was a changing point for him and he went on to spend a decade learning how to paint in the Western academic-style, honing his craft during a period of self-discovery.

Kuroda returned to Japan in 1893 and brought new ideas and freshness to the Western-style art scene throughout Japan.

He created a Western painting school called Tenshin Dojo and established pleinairism which is specifically for painting outdoors and capturing nature.

In 1986, he founded the Habuka-kai, widely known as the White Horse Society. The society was for a group of Japanese practitioners of yoga and painting.

The artists was also invited to teach the Western Painting Department at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts.

Towards the end of his life, Kuroda was chosen as a teishitsu gigei-in, or Imperial Household Artist, to create works for the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

Kuroda served as the president of the Imperial Art Academy and was titled a viscount in 1917. Then, in 1920, the painter was elected to join Japan’s House of Peers in the new aristocratic social class.

Throughout his lifetme, Kuroda inspired the next generation of Western-style, impressionist and pleinairist artists to carry on his legacy in Japan.

His works can be found in several museums and galleries including the Artizon Museum in Tokyo and the Kuroda Memorial Hall within the Tokyo National Museum. Two of his more well-known works, Maiko (1893) and Lakeside (1897), have also been selected as commemorative postage stamps in Japan.

The Google Doodle only reaches the UK and Japan today.

Featured Image Credit: Google

Topics: Art, Google, World News

Sonja Tutty
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