japonisme: the shadowless land

20 December 2006

the shadowless land

okay, after going through all 1,007 images that one pulls up when doing a search for 'snow' on artelino, i am of the conclusion that.... there are no shadows in japan!!!

or maybe it's that part of the look of the japanese prints during most of the time we're talking about here that shadows were not displayed.

of course it was the posts on the 18th and 19th that got me started looking (and here i'm using different william rice (above right) and walter j phillips (above left) images which illustrate the same fondness we westerners seem to have with blue shadows).

the shadowless one on top is by takashi ito.

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Blogger Florence said...

A very interesting observation. Now that I think of it, its not really big in Chinese art either.


20 December, 2006 20:53  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Lotusgreen, I always thought shadows serve the same visual purpose as a cape or a tail-- they are a flourish you can add at the end, a garnish after the hard structural drawing part is through. Because of the nature of shadows (and capes and tails) the artist can take all kinds of liberties with them. And artists just looovve to take liberties.

Do you know the work of Wayne Thiebaud? He squeezes a whole rainbow full of color into the shadows of pastries and lollipops.

22 December, 2006 05:53  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

florence--that's really interesting! i know that there was a lack of perspective (remember oscar wilde's quote?), but i haven't heard anyone mention this. it really starts making me wonder about the consciousness of the artists.

david-- sure, wayne thiebaud is local, so his stuff is everywhere around here (and of here when he's not painting cake)

but as for shadows--the often are blue on snow! i never thought they were afterthought or folly--these kind of prints always seem to me to be an artist's delight in the actual natural world!

22 December, 2006 17:08  

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