Titled, dated, and signed on plate, l.c.: Doctor Syntax Pursued by a Bull; l.l.: Drawn and etched by Rowlandson; top c.: London: Pub. Apr. 1, 1813 at R. Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 101 Strand Plate 8
This work portrays a dynamic, umbrella-studded view of the University of Michigan Diag, based on sketches Saitô made during his trip to Ann Arbor in the fifties.
In the 1950s and 1960s the Creative Print (sôsaku hanga) movement became the new face of Japanese art in the international art scene. Not initially prized in Japan, much work by Creative Print Movement artists was indeed intended for international audiences. As the movement came to represent the nation in the modern art world, artists like Saitô traveled to sell their work and galleries were established overseas from which to distribute and display it. This generated international exposure that garnered for these artists a more cosmopolitan image that was critical to their success both domestically and abroad.
An ink painting of a mountainscape with hills and abstract paths. Trees are depicted in darker shades, though most do not hold any detail. The image is in the lower half of the hanging scroll, and the upper half is covered with text. The image is entirely grey-scale.
The subject is the Taoist or Buddhist recluse, which Shi Tao painted often. Here the artist has signed the painting with his monastic names Yuanji (“Origin of Salvation”) and Xia Zun Zhe (“Honorable Blind One”). The text above the image is an accompaniment written by art historians praising Shitao's work.
A stand of trees beside water foregrounds a central mountain that seems to rise lightly to the left. To the right of the mountain is calligraphic text and two orange seals. A small building is tucked to the right behind the stand of trees. Depth of the mountains is indicated with the use of wash.
Ink painting landscape with mountains, water, trees, and small hut.
Among the rolling green mountains, figures in this scroll go about their lives, leading cattle to drink along the riverside and dangling fishing lines over the edge of small boats in hopes of catching something for dinner. Highlights of red pigment add brilliance to a grove of trees near the middle of the scroll. The detail work in the trees is spectacular, with twisted and knotted trunks that seem to refuse to stand upright, but bend against gravity, in some cases revealing networks of tangled roots.
The luminous greens and blues in this handscroll are derived from mineral and azurite pigments, adding to the overall shine and radiance of the work. Blue-and-green landscape technique was typically orchestrated by court painters, and this scroll includes a red oval-shaped seal indicating that it was a part of the collection of Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong (r. 1736-1795).