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c. 1788–89

Nagasawa Rosetsu 長澤蘆雪

(Japanese, 1754–1799)
Image: 114.3 x 40.6 cm (45 x 16 in.); Overall: 200.7 x 54 cm (79 x 21 1/4 in.)
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Location: not on view

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Rosetsu was an independent painter active in Kyoto, Japan's cultural capital, known for his visual wit and superb range of technical skills.


In this work, Nagasawa Rosetsu carefully described two snails in a manner known as “earth painting” (doro-e), building up colors mixed with crushed white shells in emulation of the thick brushstrokes of oil paint seen in European painting. A silvery metallic pigment indicates the snails’ trails, glistening along an earthen wall. Notably, one trail has no snail, leaving the viewer to guess why.


c. 1788–89

Nagasawa Rosetsu

(Japanese, 1754–1799)
Japan, Edo period (1615-1868)

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