Orchids and Peonies
Hirao Chikuka, born in Tamba-Sasayama of current Hyōgo in 1856, dedicated himself to learning under the guidance of Watanabe Fusso, a Japanese Confucianist. Later, Hirao went to Kyoto and studied the paintings at the Maruyama-Shijo School. After that, he entered the studio of Tanomura Chokunyū and learned Nanga painting. Hirao also devoted himself to the establishment of the Kyoto Prefectural School of Painting (current Kyoto City University of Arts). Hirao played an active role as a leading figure in the art world putting his heart and soul into the popularization and development of Nanga Painting.
This work was painted with free and easy brush strokes giving free play to his interest. There is no hint of hesitation on the drawing and its vigorous lines skillfully capture vivid expressions of flowers. The influence of the Maruyama-Shijo School which places importance on sketching can be seen in peony petals. Painted with bright colors overall, this is one of Hirao’s masterpieces which reflects seasonal reminiscence of early summer.