Tag Archives: Hiroshige

Figures and Backgrounds in Ukiyo-e

Japanese woodblock prints liberate the figure from the ground by either dipensing with it altogether, or by embedding it like in marquetry, or by creating a series of flat cut outs arranged in shallow space – like the flats in a theatre. The figure can be turned into the complex system of signs and symbols that create narrative or else be involved in the complex visual game of ‘mitate’ where people and things stand for or make equivalence with other things… naturalism as known in the west is not part of the repetoire of ukiyo-e artists, their game was more complicated Continue reading

Posted in Figure and Ground, Japanese prints, japanese woodblock prints, kabuki theatre, ukiyo-e art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Escape in Japanese Woodblock Prints

It’s the function of art, isn’t it, to offer some escape… maybe to make a space to slip into that leaves aside the stresses and the anxieties of the now. That was certainly the intention of ukiyo-e… (Japanese woodblock prints) … Continue reading

Posted in Floating World, Hiroshige, Japanese prints, japanese woodblock prints, Kunisada, ukiyo-e, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Print a Day – Hiroshige’s Mandarin Ducks

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Kacho-e of Mandarin Ducks (Oshidori) Swimming Among Water Grasses, Chuban. 1830’s. This delightful print shows a pair of Oshidori, or Mandarin ducks swimming together in a swirl of contented harmony; unsurprising, as in Japanese (and Chinese, where … Continue reading

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Hiroshige… Japanese Tits and Kacho-e

Hiroshige (1797-1858) Kacho-e of a Great-tit on a Plum Branch, 1830’s. This is a very pretty print of a Japanese Great Tit called Parus minor, also known as the Oriental tit. Surprisingly, this inoffensive bird has been in the news … Continue reading

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Hiroshige, Modernism and Cezanne (print per day)

Hiroshige (1797-1858) Famous Places in the Eastern Capital (Toto no meisho): Shiba Shinmei Shrine, 1834 Recession… that’s the big challenge for the easel painter and especially the landscape painter. The painting is flat… the surface of the canvas is as … Continue reading

Posted in Cezanne, Edo, Hiroshige, japanese woodblock prints, Perspective in Art, ukiyo-e, ukiyo-e art | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Toshidama… A Print per Day – Hiroshige

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Famous Places in the Eastern Capital (Toto no Meisho): The Spiral Hall of the Temple of the Five Hundred Arhats, Oban. 1834. This lovely, lovely print by Hiroshige is of a strange place indeed… one that no … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Asian Art, Edo, Floating World, Hiroshige, Japanese prints, Japanese Temple, japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e, ukiyo-e art, Ukiyo-e landscape art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foxy Ladies – Tamamo no mae and the Legend of Lady Kayo

I have written elsewhere about foxes and Japanese mythology. In popular myth, the fox in Japan is known as a mischievous spirit, ringing doorbells, sending telegrams and so on. There are other myths however in which the fox spirit is … Continue reading

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Three Women from the 100 Ogura Poets

The current show at the Toshidama Gallery has three sheets from the peerless series of woodblock prints A Comparison of the Ogura One Hundred Poets of 1847. This series of 100 prints is one of the outstanding achievements of woodblock … Continue reading

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Marks and Spencer and the Landscape Tradition

I was struck by the current billboard advertisements for retailer Marks and Spencer this week. It depicts seven successful British women dressed in M&S casual wear in front of an eighteenth century style landscape of rolling hills, coppiced woodland and … Continue reading

Posted in Hiroshige, Hokusai, japanese woodblock prints, ukiyo-e art, Ukiyo-e landscape art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fans of War and Other Decorative Pleasures

People not intimate with Japanese culture will nevertheless be familiar with the Japanese fan. Both the folding fan (ogi) or the fixed, rigid fan (uchiwa) with a decorative scene printed on the paper cover are still commonplace gifts all over … Continue reading

Posted in Hiroshige, Japanese prints, japanese woodblock prints, kabuki theatre, Kunichika, Kunisada, Kuniyoshi, uchiwa-e, ukiyo-e art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment