Tanaka Yūbi: The Final Court Painter Active From the Meiji Period to the Early Shōwa Period
“The Pictures of Hundred Flowers and Hundred Insects” by Tanaka Yūbi
This painting is a part of the “The Pictures of Hundred Flowers and Hundred Insects” by Tanaka Yūbi. In the right side, flowers blooming from Spring to Summer are depicted, and in the left side, fruits blooming from Summer to Autumn are depicted, each of which is expressed in great detail. When looking at the screen more carefully, insects, rain frogs, small fish, crabs, and shrimp are depicted scrupulously, giving the viewers the pleasure of discovering various things.
Tanaka Yūbi was born in Kyōto. He became a pupil of Reizei Tamechika, who was a painter at the end of the Edo period and had a miserable end, and learned Yamato-e. Tamechika was not satisfied with the painting techniques of the Tosa School, and he created a traditional style of painting called “revived Yamato-e” based on the Yamato-e of the Heian period. Therefore, while Yūbi’s painting style is also an extension of such style, this painting is an unusual example of pictures that is slightly out of such style. The picture is not a work of revived Yamato-e style, instead a photographic work, like the Maruyama School’s paintings, in which we can see depictions like in picture books. However, unlike the Maruyama School’s paintings, which have a formal screen as results of the pursuit of realism, these paintings have gorgeous but relaxed screens because of Yūbi’s character.