Japanese Ink Painting

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Japanese Ink Painting The Art of Sumi'-e The paintings done in this report are Japanese ink paintings called Sumi'-e. In order to get a clear sense of what ink painting is all about, it is useful to look at the differences between this style and Western painting. The goal of classical Western painting is to depict the world and its objects as realistically as possible. To achieve that goal, it has developed a precise structure of foreground, background, and central objects, creating a three-dimensional perspective. This style of painting needs light, shadow, and most of all color. Ink painting uses none of these. Even though it. Too depicts a view of the world, its goal is to not produce a realistic picture of it, but rather an expression of the perception a painter wants to convey. It is an attempt to capture, in condensed form, the essence of an object, a person or a landscape as seen through to eyes of the painter.

Suggestion and simplification in a painting imply reality.

In Japanese ink painting we see the traditional simplicity combined with expression. A sense of harmony, so typical in Japanese culture. This explains why paintings that depict flowers, birds and landscapes are so popular.

This style of painting, heavily influenced by Zen Buddhism, uses only black ink. However, according to Oriental understanding, black ink is not simply black. It has many different shades representing the highest level of color simplification.

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