Special Exhibition “Aves Japonicae 〈9〉 – The Diversity of Expression”


Kawabe Kakyo’s Sketches of Birds is a reference that serves as a model for Japanese painting. These scrolls contain precise sketches of various birds, so that it works as “specimens drawn on paper.”
The touch of the sketch is extremely realistic, and even each feather of a bird and each scale on its legs are depicted. Some pictures specify the color of each part and the number of feathers.
On the other hand, his realistic drawings are far removed from the stereotyped Japanese paintings we usually see. This means that the painters used an extremely wide range of expressions, from precise depictions to stereotypical bird-and-flower paintings.
This time, we would like you to unravel the Sketches of Birds Vol. 2 and see how everything from realistic sketches to stylized Japanese paintings are included in one volume. In addition, the style of the birds drawn by Yamamoto Masayuki (Kizan) in the same volume is completely different — more like a manga style.
A picture is not only for fine detailed depiction. The process of how to omit, emphasize, deform the original figure and complete as a “picture” is also the skill of the painter. You can also feel the commonality of deformation that transcends eras and regions. In addition, it will also teach us anew how humans see the world.

[Organizer] The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)

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