A Street Scene, Kioto

A Street Scene, Kioto by Mortimer Menpes. 1901. Watercolor. Source: Japan: A Record in Colour, facing p. 130. Again, Menpes shows a group, mainly comprised of children, gathered round watching something: "In Japan art is not a cause, but a result — the result of the naturalness of the people — and is closely allied with all aspects of their daily life. In the houses, the streets, the gardens, the places of public resort — everywhere is to be found the all-pervading element of art and beauty" (40-41). On the occasion caught here, it must have been raining: the large round ribbed parasols catch the light from the unseen source, and make a dramatic and festive show above the faces with their intent expressions. Another visiting artist might have wanted to see and show whatever it is the little crowd is watching; but to Menpes the real show is the crowd itself. He achieves a marvellous effect here with a very limited palette. — Jacqueline Banerjee

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Related Material


Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: A Record in Colour. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1901. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California Libraries. Web. 4 July 2019.

Created 4 July 2019