a cat contemplates

thanks wikipaintings.org. public domain
That thoughtful face - where have I seen it before?  Oh yes, just now when brushing KatV.  Doesn't this piece have a modern feel in its stripped-down, wry presence?  Perhaps you'll be as surprised as I am that this is a work by the Japanese nihonga painter Hishida Shunso (1874-1911).  Nihonga is a painting style that keeps to traditionally Japanese materials and conventions; the term and the style evolved in the Meiji era as a means of definition from the Western-style art also created by Japanese artists at the time.  Shunso's own talent comes through in the combination of judiciously applied shading within the cat's lines.  I particularly like the white that makes the chest and rear leg seem softly lit and velvety.