Aesthetic of Bushido

British Dandyism and Aesthetic of Samurai

by Atsuki Settangeli

In Japan, we have a saying: “A Samurai, even when he has not eaten, uses a toothpick like a lord.” Samurai were the military class higher in rank than farmers and common people, but with decreasing power over time. They created and developed their own sense of aesthetics and values, such as those expressed in bushido the “Way of the Samurai.”

A similar phenomenon occurred in the United Kingdom, where there was a class of nobles and a class of “gentry,” many of whom would never become nobles. The word “gentlemanly” that is used today has its roots in the aesthetics and value system that the gentry developed over the years. And by devoting themselves to this way of life, they further developed a “noble aesthetic sense.”

The dedication to beauty, values and bushido is the reason why I painted the series “Samurai Spirit.” It refers to a way of living that discovers life in a sense of aesthetics. I, as a modern expressionist, would like to live up to this approach.

Atsuki Settangeli was born in 1968, begain painting in 1995 and has made Samurai his theme since 2010. These works have been exhibited in New York and Japan. His work has been published, won awards and is in permanent collections.