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Namaste: Realistic Radhika Essay

1536 words - 7 pages

Namaste: Realistic Radhika
The three Japanese artists Unkei, Taiga, and Yoshitoshi were all unique artists during their respective time periods. Taiga was from the Edo period. He used literati style, which was cultivated with a Chinese interest in ideals. Taiga made portraits on different formats such as fans, folding screens, and hanging scrolls. All his portraits seemed to involve an individual being in a natural landscape. Yoshitoshi was from the Meiji period. He was known for his woodblock printing. Most of his paintings involved cartoon-like warriors and actors. His work first starts off with a sketch and he then gradually uses woodblock carvings to make the final image. Some of his works are bloody, while some are based on beauty. Unkei was from the Kamakura period. He was known for producing work with more realistic, vigorous expressions. Unkei made three-dimensional wooden sculptures using the yosegi technique or piece block method where pieces of wood were glued together and incorporated dynamic expression that had a sense of power. He was a Buddhist monk who was devoted to Buddhism. As a result, most of his portraits contained Buddhist ideals within them. During the Kamakura period, the rise of the Samurai occurred, which influenced the portraits to be more dynamic or powerful looking. Unkei was known to show knowledge of human anatomy by making the figures human-like. Sometimes, he would exaggerate features such as muscles to show power and strength.
When I was young, I would stand in front of my parent’s bed quietly. My dad would wake up and just see my eyes staring at him in the dark. This reminded me of the artist Unkei with his gyokugan eyes, which are crystal eyes that are seen even with a candle; thus, he immediately drew my attention. Interestingly, these eyes can relate to the profession of an optometrist because the light in the eyes from the candle are seen in the dark just like it would be seen when an eye exam occurs. Portraying that in the sculpture would show my future profession implicitly, which would be intriguing. Also, I want a portrait that is three-dimensional and portraying human-like qualities, which is what Unkei does unlike Taiga and Yoshitoshi. Besides, Taiga used “relatively simple linear figural depictions and used color and […used] finger painting” (Fischer p.381) in his images that usually contained a background and portrayed happiness. This style does not portray what I would like in my portrait because I do not want a painting with a background but a sculpture. On the other hand, Yoshitoshi is more surreal, has cartoonlike paintings and uses a technique known as shomenzuri “by placing the printed sheet on a woodblock with the required pattern engraved in relief, then polishing the already printed black surface” (Stevenson p.84) in order to make clothing bolder which is something that lacks realistic qualities and three dimension; something that I would like in my portrait. Also, I would not want a...

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