Oil on canvas
A challenge to depict natural phenomena undertaken by a pioneer of modern Japanese Western-style painting.
일본 근대 서양화의 개척자에 의한 자연현상의 묘사에 도전
Yuichi Takahashi was born in Edo as the son of a clansman of the Sano Domain in the Shimotsuke Province. He took an interest in Western painting techniques at a young age and began research, working particularly hard on establishing oil painting techniques. Through his achievements, he came to be regarded as “the pioneer of modern Japanese Western-style painting” and his most important works, Sake (Salmon) and Oiran (Courtesan) , which are both in the collection of Tokyo University of the Arts, are designated as important cultural property.
Sudden Shower is considered to have been painted around 1877, when Yuichi met the Italian artist Antonio Fontanesi and, under his influence, began employing aerial perspective. The center of the picture is covered in clouds and the rain is falling heavily on the surface of the river. Meanwhile, the blue sky in the upper left vividly contrasts the afterglow of the sunset in the lower right. Although the location of this view has not been identified, judging from the boatmen getting their barge ready to leave after the rain, it is thought to be a view along Sumida River.
Later on, Yuichi was commissioned by Michitsune Mishima, then prefectural governor of Tochigi, to record the construction of roads in the three prefectures of Tochigi, Fukushima, and Yamagata and painted many landscapes. He also worked out a plan to build an art museum called “Tengakaku (Painting Exhibition Pavilion),” but this was never realized.