Why is a Google Doodle honoring the influential painter and teacher Kuroda Seiki today?

 Why is a Google Doodle honoring the influential painter and teacher Kuroda Seiki today?

Why is a Google Doodle honoring the influential painter and teacher Kuroda Seiki today?

Kuroda was born on August 9, 1866, in Takamibaba, Satsuma Domain, now Kagoshima Prefecture.


He was the son of a Shimazu clan samurai, but he was adopted as his uncle's heir at birth and moved to his uncle's estate in Tokyo. Kuroda Kiyotsuna, his uncle, held high positions in the imperial government. When Kuroda was young, he was made a viscount.


When he was 18, Kuroda went to Paris to study law, but in 1886, he met painters Yamamoto Hosui and Fuji Masazo, as well as art dealer Tadamasa Hayashi, who convinced him to pursue painting full time, which had previously been a hobby.


Before returning to Japan in 1893, Kuroda spent a decade in France learning how to paint in the Western academic style.


He brought with him a painting called "Morning Toilette," which went on to become Japan's first publicly exhibited nude painting. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during WWII.


Kuroda founded Tenshin Dojo, a Western painting school, and pioneered plein-airism, or the practice of painting outside.


In 1986, he founded the Hakuba-kai, also known as the White Horse Society, a group of Japanese yoga and painting practitioners. He was also asked to teach Western Painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts.


Kuroda's Western painting style was shocking to Japanese audiences, but it quickly became popular, especially among young people eager to learn from him.


Over the years, he refined his style and teaching, incorporating more Japanese sensibilities.


He was appointed a court painter at the Imperial Court in 1910. He was also the President of the Imperial Art Academy and was made a Viscount after his uncle died in 1917.


Then, in 1920, Kuroda was elected to Japan's house of peers, or Kizoku-in, the Meiji Era's new aristocratic social class.


His later years were spent primarily in politics, and he died on July 15, 1924, at the age of 57.

The Japanese government awarded Kuroda the Order of the Rising Sun shortly after his death.


His work and teaching influenced the next generation of Japanese Western-style painters, and his influence can still be felt today.


Kuroda's "academic impressionism" style achieved long-term dominance in Japanese art society and served as the foundation of Western-style art training in Japan for decades.


Perhaps Kuroda's most significant contribution to Japanese culture was the wider acceptance of Western-style painting that he was able to instill in the Japanese public.


"Lakeside" (1897), "Maiko" (1893), "Woman Holding a Mandolin" (1891), and "The Fields" (1899) are among Kuroda's most famous works (1907).


In Japan, both "Maiko" and "Lakeside" have been made into commemorative stamps.


His works can be found in a variety of museums and galleries, including Tokyo's Artizon Museum and the Kuroda Memorial Hall within the Tokyo National Museum.

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