ニコライ堂 B

Nikolai Cathedral - B ニコライ堂 B

MATSUMOTO Shunsuke 松本 竣介

Shunsuke Matsumoto is a painter whose life and work were greatly affected by the grim circumstances of the Second World War and the early postwar period. As a young man he lost his hearing due to an illness. Deciding to become an artist, he left Iwate prefecture, where he had been born and raised, and moved to Tokyo at age 17. Before his premature death at 36, he developed a unique way of depicting the urban landscape with tranquil lyricism. Shunsuke protested against the cultural control exercised by the state during the war years, and he was known to later generations as a "resistance painter" who advocated complete freedom in artistic creation and proclaimed the independence of human beings through his self-portraits and conceptual figure paintings. The collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo contains some sixty drawings by Shunsuke, including many landscapes executed in the environs of Tokyo and Yokohama around 1941, for example, Nikolai Cathedral, Near the Railroad Bridge, and A Bridge in Y City. They offer an insight into Shunsuke's painstaking approach to making art. He liked to make many sketches on the site, reworked them further in the studio, and then produced a full-size study before executing the finished oil painting or drawing, The study was done on brown craft paper and then accurately transferred in outline form to the canvas or drawing paper in order to produce the exact pictorial composition that the artist desired. In this preparatory stage, Shunsuke combined the main landscape with other scenes and figures, even changing the size and form of various elements in a free reconstruction of reality. During this process, the final lines were gradually made stronger and clear. As wartime conditions worsened, Shunsuke stayed in Tokyo and continued to confront the urban landscapes that he saw with his own eyes. His landscape paintings are detailed and realistic, but they are also landscapes of the heart. They often have a hallucinatory atmosphere pervaded by feelings of solitude and anxiety.
Collection of
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Nikolai Cathedral - B
Artist Name
Material / Technique
Pencil on kraft paper
33(Height)×45.5(Width) cm
Acquisition date
Accession number

Other items of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (5506)