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Portrait of Reiko
Important Cultural Property
By Kishida Ryusei
1 piece
Oil on Canvas
Taishō 10 (1921)
Tokyo National Museum
Kishida Ryusei (1891–1929) was a conspicuous figure in Western-style painting in the Taisho period. He was influenced by northern Renaissance art and ran Sodosha. Ryusei is known for his many portraits of Reiko, his beloved daughter. This piece, painted when Reiko was eight, is particularly well known among them, and one of his most important works. . The smiling look, with the corners of the mouth pulled up, has some similarity to Leonard Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
Her bobbed head is strangely big, and her hands are oddly small, especially compared to the head. Further, her shawl is painted with such minute brushwork that we can almost feel the texture of the wool. The picture is filled with a mysterious atmosphere. Strange features like those described above have been discussed since the time when this painting was released. This painting has captivated people to this day, while those features have been valued highly and understood as the very things Ryusei wanted to create in his avant-garde experiment.