The Easel

Archives: Staff

6th September 2022

Japanese design: Rinpa

The Tokugawa shogunate brought prosperity to 17th century Japan. Kyoto’s artists responded by more freely using colour, pattern and form – the Rinpa school was born. It did not limit artistic expression, meaning that its leading figures were designers as much as painters. Their “spectacular” household screens, ceramics and lacquerware mixed realism and stylization in a way that “harmonises with our modern aesthetic ideals” and still influences contemporary design.

5 Things To Know About Italian Maiolica

Tin glazed pottery has one great virtue. Tin glaze, when applied to earthenware, creates a white porous surface ideal for painting. When painted and fired, the resulting piece is shiny and colourful, ideal for display. This Islamic invention appeared in 14th century Spain and, a century later, was all the rage in Renaissance Italy where it enjoyed a status similar to easel painting. The above piece is a succinct primer; more detail and images are here.