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Kano

Kano (käˈnō) [key], family or school of Japanese painters. Kano Masanobu, c.1434–c.1530, the forerunner of the school, was attached to the shogun Yoshimasa's court. He painted landscapes, birds, and figure pieces, chiefly in ink with occasional touches of pale tints. His work is Japanese in spirit, reflecting the influence of Chinese art in technique and style. Only a few of his works survive. His son, Kano Motonobu, c.1476–1559, was the actual founder of the school and one of the foremost artists of Japan. Into Chinese-style ink painting he introduced heavily stressed outlines and bold decorative patterns. His screen paintings served well as architectural decorations and appealed to the tastes of the warrior class. Many of his screen paintings are still preserved in temples of Kyoto. Kano Eitoku, 1543–90, grandson of Motonobu, painted screens with landscapes and figures and decorated the interiors of the royal palaces. His art differs from that of the earlier Kano painters; it is less precise and is characterized by energy, ease, and inventiveness. His screen paintings were done in brilliant colors against a ground of gold leaf. He had many pupils and imitators, but most of his own work has perished. Kano Tanyu, 1602–74, first known as Morinobu, was the grandson of Eitoku and was called the reviver of the Kano school. He was appointed official painter of the Tokugawa government (1621) and established a school of his own. He became one of the most vigorous and versatile of Japanese painters. He worked in both Edo and Kyoto, decorating castles and royal palaces. Although much of his work has since disappeared, some screen paintings are still preserved at Nijo Castle in Kyoto and at Nagoya Castle. His Confucius and Disciples is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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