Caillebotte eventually gave up painting entirely to pursue his passion for boating, but, for a time, the two merged to create a unique world of innovative color and ambiguous perspective. His family owned property in the Yerres region, where the river provided a setting for socializing and the development of boating as a popular pastime. Boating was actually one of the traditions that the French adopted from the English during a time when Anglomania was sweeping across France.
An essay about Callebotte’s oarsmen: >>>
Mokuan Reien is one of the most respected early Zen painters, and his work is distinct in both style and subject matter compared to later Zen works. He was trained near Kamakura, the capital that had the support of the shogunate, and he traveled through China for more than twenty years. Unlike other painters who were influenced by Chinese texts and paintings that hung on the walls of the monasteries, Mokuan was invariably immersed in Chan belief and culture, and, as a result, transmitted this influence through his work. In his Hotei paintings, he depicts the Chinese monk of the tenth century who gained legendary status after his death and became a popular subject for Zen painters. Mokuan is often associated with the Chinese painter Muqi because of their strikingly similar painting style: dry brushstrokes counterbalanced with a few strong ink lines that echo Southern Song “apparition painting.”
Fūgai, a Zen painter who lived during the early Edo period, represents a different lifestyle and approach to painting. Instead of traveling through China, Fūgai spent most of his life wandering around the Japanese countryside, and spent many years living in a cave near a remote village. He did not display his paintings on the walls of temples, but left them outside his cave for villagers to take in exchange for rice. His Hotei Wading a Stream still depicts the same strong outline of Mokuan’s stick, but the rest of the brushstrokes are clearly meant to be seen as marks of ink. Fūgai displays these marks as though they are solely responsible for conveying his message, and offers a view into his own visualization, while Mokuan relies on the conviction of past masters to legitimize his work.