Harris K. Weston Associate Professor of the Humanities
Department of History of Art and Architecture
Despite increasing attention in recent years, it has proven difficult to assess the remarkable corpus of paintings associated with the Japanese artist Soga Shohaku (1730-81). Characterized by dramatically inventive large-scale compositions, gestural brushwork, and unusually showy coloration, Shohaku's paintings appear to have few precedents in Japanese painting history, and have led to his being understood primarily as an "eccentric" or "independent" artist. And yet Shohaku claimed--in almost every case dubiously--multiple affiliations with prominent painting schools and historic artistic lineages. This lecture will explore some of the ways in which Shohaku's unique corpus was conditioned by his identifications and the manner in which he flaunted his status as a painter from the Heian capital while working in the provinces. Shohaku's emergence opens up numerous insights into the cultural context for the rise of the unaffiliated (or over-affiliated) artist in early modern Japan.
Reception to follow lecture.