Sotatsu Tawaraya 俵屋宗達
Korin Ogata 尾形光琳
Hoitsu Sakai 酒井抱一
My wife I attended an exhibition called "The Art of Rimpa: From Kōetsu and Sōtatsu to the Edo Rimpa School" at Idemitsu Museum of art.
Since Rimpa School (琳派) is quite popular in Japan, most of exhibitions of Rimpa School are very interesting but too crowded, and I got tired after seeing the exhibitions. At this time we went to this exhibition on Sunday, but it was nice that it was not too crowded and we could see paintings without any hurry.
Most of schools (Ryuha; 流派) of crafts and performing arts in Japan like Kano School (狩野派) have their own organizations and transmit their traditions from masters to their disciples. But Rimpa School didn't have any organization, and some painters, who respected former painters, transmitted its tradition by their own will.
The members of Kano School thought of themselves as the members of it. But Sotatsu Tawaraya, Korin Ogata and Hoitsu Sakai, who are the member of Rimpa School, didn't think of themselves as the member of it. Future generations call them Rimpa School, because they shared the same tradition.
In most of schools the founder is greatest and disciples are getting less great. It's natural that the founder is greater than his disciples, because no one can build a new school expect the great artists and ordinary artists can just transmit the tradition.
In Rimpa School the tradition was not transmitted from a master to his disciples, but I think that the founder is greatest and successors are getting less great.
Sotatsu Tawaraya, the founder of Rimpa School is greatest in his school. His paintings are strange because of its bold deformation. In his paintings the proportions of humans and objects and the perspective are often strange. He expressed mountains by painting only green color. I think that one of his paintings is like Gauguin’s and another is like Cubism. His paintings are strange but quite impressive.
I can realize that Hoitsu Sakai respected Sotatsu Tawaraya and Korin Ogata through his paintings. He had brilliant techniques of paintings. But his paintings don't have a strong attraction. The difference between the international and powerful atmosphere of the Momoyama era when Sotatsu lived and the delicate and exclusive atmosphere of the Edo era when Hoitsu lived might cause the difference between Sotatsu's and Hoitsu's paintings.
Sotatsu's paintings with gold backgrounds are excellent. His brilliant paintings are more prominent than gold background. But gold backgrounds are more prominent than Hoitsu's paintings. His paintings with silver backgrounds are excellent.
Sotatsu's most important work is "Fujin Raijin zu (風神雷神図屏風)" with a gold background and Hoitsu's most important work is "Natsu Aki Kusa zu (夏秋草図屏風)" with a silver background.