japonisme: the 18th century

09 November 2008

the 18th century

the longer i look into the 18th century the more confused i get. it was a time of great social and technological change.

as much as i may be learning, there are too many gaps in my know- ledge for me to put together anything that feels cohesive, or even comprehensible. so why don't i just toss some stuff out here and when i'm done (this will take several posts) we'll see if anything has come clear.

now if you look at the two images above you might assume that they are somehow related. are they? i think even knowing the answer doesn't answer the ques- tion. (even diagramming its frac- tals explains nothing of this.) 1

the line on top is from an 18th century british painter and theoretician named andrew cozens (reputedly the bastard son of peter the great). his son robert followed him in form as well.

"In 1759 Andrew published An Essay to Facilitate the Invention of Landskips, Intended for Students in the Art, setting out in brief his method for composing with the aid of ink blots and citing the precedent of Leonardo da Vinci, who had recommended looking for images in crumbling walls as a means of assisting the invention. " 2

this was new? the japanese were following their chinese teachers at the same time without having read this essay.

the work of the dutch, however did become popular in great britian after 1700, so i can't see it as inconceivable that dutch traders brought in artwork along with kimono, and that the british saw that too.

what a stunning and dramatic departure we begin to see, as from constable, for example. well, departure from european art, anyway.

I think that's enough for the moment. i don't know that i'll ever get any definitive answers, here, but my eyes can be informed.

yes, mountains just look this way. we can all see it. at least it's true to our eyes, now. but if that's true, why didn't western painters paint it that way until after they met the japanese? and why isn't anyone mentioning it?

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Blogger willow said...

Intriguing thoughts and landscape lines.

10 November, 2008 07:49  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i'm so glad you think so willow. thanks!

10 November, 2008 08:05  
Blogger Neil said...

There's a book in these recent posts, Lily. Even if some of the connections are coincidence or synchronicity, you're forging a whole new way of looking at art history, and especially the history of eastern and western art. So don't stop blogging, but take the time to put together a proposal and send it off to the editors at Abrams or Thames and Hudson.

10 November, 2008 14:11  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

coming from you, neil, that means quite a lot. it's validating both that you see what i'm talking about and that you don't see anyone else saying it. it's quite a thought to think it might be true.


beyond the question of whether i'd be laughed out of the editorial room, beyond the question of whether or not i'd be able to sustain my interest in this, which is afterall an offshoot of my main interests....

i have published five books before, and a magazine for 15 years (all the books had to do with the magazine).

if i never again in my life have to deal with editors or publicists or permissions departments it would be a blessing. part of why i can continue to do this every day with interest and excitment is that nobody is looking over my shoulder with regards to either content or marketability. it's self-generating.

with a book, even if i wanted to make myself do it (i love being able to follow my idiosyncracities day by day too), it would never be like that.

thank you, dear, for the thought. you honor me.

10 November, 2008 17:31  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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