Kano Motonobu (狩野元信)

Motonobu KANO (September 6, 1476 - November 15, 1559) was a painter of the Muromachi period, and the son of the Kano school's founder, Masanobu KANO. He was born in Kyoto. He inherited his father's style, but also introduced the technique of Yamato-e painting (a traditional Japanese style painting of the late Heian and Kamakura periods dealing with Japanese themes), forming the basis of the Kano school.

Motonobu KANO was either the first or the second son of the Kano school's founder, Masanobu KANO and the second head of the Kano school. Motonobu perfected the painting style of the Kano school and laid the foundations for the success of the Kano school, which continued until the modern era.
In later life he was called 'Kohogen.'

His first appearance as a painter in the historical record was in 1513, when he produced "Kuramadera-Engi-e"(painting of the history of Kurama-dera Temple). The partition wall painting of Daisen-in in Daitoku-ji Temple, which still exists, is usually said to have been produced in 1513, at the time of the building of Daisen-in but there is some speculation that it was painted in 1535, when Daisen-in Hojo (an abbot's chamber) was renovated. Motonobu was involved in the following major projects during his sixties. First, for approximately 15 years from 1539, he was involved in the partition wall painting of Ishiyama-Hongan-ji Temple. During this period, in 1543, he painted at Dairi-kogosho (the imperial palace) and, around the same time, painted the partition wall of Reiun-in in Myoshin-ji Temple, and in 1545 was awarded the rank of Hogen (the second highest rank in the hierarchy of Buddhist priests). Due to the protection of such powerful patrons as the Muromachi bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), the Imperial Court and Ishiyama-Hongan-ji Temple, he was able to survive the turmoil of the Sengoku period (period of Warring States).

Motonobu's works are notable for melding the Tosa school style of Yamato-e painting onto the ink-wash painting method of the Kanga style (typically monochrome, Chinese style paintings), and establishing a particularly Japanese style of partition wall painting, suitable for the decoration of buildings of the traditional Shoin-zukuri architectual style.

He left various categories of works as an occupational painter, including portraits such as "Iio Sogi-zo" (Portrait of Sogi IIO) (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) and "Shinme-zugaku" (votive picture of a horse) at Kamo-jinja Shrine, Hyogo both of which still exist.

Main Works
Daisen-in Partition Wall Painting (Daitoku-ji, Daisen-in, Kyoto Prefecture) Important Cultural Property, On loan to Kyoto National Museum
Daisen-in Partition Wall Painting (Tokyo National Museum) Important Cultural Property
Reiun-in Partition Wall Painting (Myoushin-ji Temple Reiun-in, Kyoto Prefecture) Important Cultural Property, On loan to Kyoto National Museum
Shiki-kacho-zu (Flowers and Birds of the Four Season) Byobu (six panelled folding screen) (Hakutsuru Museum) Important Cultural Property
Shosho Hakkei-zu (Eight views of the Xiao and the Xiang in China) (Myoushin-ji Temple Tokai-an, Kyoto Prefecture) Important Cultural Property, On loan to Kyoto National Museum
Shinme-zugaku (Kamo-jinja Shrine) Important Cultural Property

[Original Japanese]