Seiki Kuroda, who was born on this day in 1866, is honoured in today’s Google Doodle in honour of both his life and 156th birthday. The father of Western-influenced paintings in Japan is regarded as influential artist Kuroda. He established the White Horse Society and worked as a teacher and administrator for the Tokyo Art School.
He was adopted by his uncle at birth and relocated to his estate in Tokyo after being born in Kagoshima, Japan. Kuroda, who moved to Paris at the age of 18 to study law, decided to focus on painting after two years. He spent ten years in France studying the Western academic style of painting while developing his technique and going through a time of self-discovery.
Returning to Japan in 1893, Kuroda revitalised the Western-style art scene in numerous Japanese cities. He founded pleinairism, the practise of painting outside, as well as Tenshin Dojo, a Western painting school. He established the Japanese yoga and painting club Habuka-kai, popularly known as the White Horse Society, in 1986. Additionally, he received an invitation to teach in the Tokyo School of Fine Arts’ Western Painting Department.
Kuroda was chosen as a teishitsu gigei-in, or Imperial Household Artist, in his later years to produce works for the Tokyo Imperial Palace. In 1917, he was given the title of Viscount and served as the President of the Imperial Art Academy. Then, in 1920, Kuroda was chosen to join the new aristocratic social class known as the Kizoku-in, or House of Peers, in Japan.
The following generation of Western-style, Impressionist, and Pleinairist artists were motivated by Kuroda to carry on his legacy, leaving a lasting effect on the art community in Japan and beyond. Numerous galleries and museums house his works, including the Tokyo Artizon Museum and the Kuroda Memorial Hall of the Tokyo National Museum. Maiko (1893) and Lakeside (1897), two of his pieces, were also chosen by the Japanese government as commemorative postage stamps.
Happy 156th birthday, Seiki Kuroda!
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