Monday, December 20, 2010

Ukiyo-e!

When I was taking Art History I was ecstatic (well, I was ecstatic in general) to know we'd be going over one of my favorite types of art -- Japanese prints! In Japan, making prints was something an artist would do as a trade for money. And during those times, the prints were just that, prints and ads. They weren't viewed as pieces of high art. Awful, right? Though, now, we all (at least lovers of art) view the artifacts of this old Japanese trade as beautiful, influential pieces of high art. 

Many known artists of the 20th century have been inspired by these prints, such as: Toulouse Lautrec, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Whistler, Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Mucha, Gustav Klimt and even architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, to name a few.

One of my favorite artists of this time, was Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Or, Kuniyoshi (his first name) Utagawa (his last name). What an AMAZING artist, to say the least. So, who was he? Let Wikipedia tell you:

"(Japanese: 歌川国芳) (ca. 1797 - April 14, 1861) was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock prints and painting. He is associated with the Utagawa school.
The range of Kuniyoshi's preferred subjects included many genres: landscapes, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, cats, and mythical animals. He is known for depictions of the battles of samurai and legendary heroes."

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http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01374/kuniyoshi1_1374872i.jpg

utagawa-kuniyoshi-kaidan
Ghost Woman || http://www.bobkessel.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/utagawa-kuniyoshi.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3136/3030565233_f033858d67.jpg

http://www.davidsongalleries.com/subjects/edo/kuniyoshi-22492.jpg


http://www.pinktentacle.com/images/kuniyoshi_tanuki_141.jpg

'Graffiti On A Storehouse Wall' || http://www.vam.ac.uk/images/image/40558-large.jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3187/3030560729_16353786c4.jpg

http://25.media.tumblr.com/eA3a4vBpOp1ga8tt2IWtccedo1_500.jpg

'The Priest Nicherin In The Snow' ||
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zp6YgZPHXOI/SPZ9cbDcNHI/AAAAAAAAErg/1OPq9jkOv04/s400/UtagawaKuniyoshi%2BThePriestNicherinInTheSnow%2Bc1831%2BWashburnUniversity_KS.jpg

http://www.andrewgrahamdixon.com/article_images/KuniyoshiManFace.jpg

'Earth Spider Conjures Demons' (detail) || http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3205/3030546949_3a2fdecfc9.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/ukiyoe_neko9.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/utagawa_kuniyoshi_cat-2.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/ukiyoecats3of3.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/ukiyoe_neko73_2of3.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/ukiyoe_neko-1000463.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee181/fffloating2/ukiyoe_neko47.jpg

http://www.international.ucla.edu/media/images/hirano-lrg.jpg

http://www.printsofjapan.com/images/Kuniyoshi_oni_honing_lightning_dtl..jpg

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3161/3031404184_6e2e08f47b.jpg

http://www.rekihaku.ac.jp/kikaku/index82/img/02.jpg

'Arhat Handaka' || http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_The_arhat_Handaka.jpg/220px-Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_The_arhat_Handaka.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c3/Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_Tiger.jpg/220px-Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_Tiger.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f3/Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_Hawk.jpg/220px-Kuniyoshi_Utagawa%2C_Hawk.jpg

http://www.trappedbymonsters.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/earthspider.jpg

Kuniyoshi_skull_cats_pattern7e
'Skulls Made Out of Cats' || http://printsofjapan.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/kuniyoshi_skull_cats_pattern7e.jpg?w=344&h=632

Kuniyoshi_skull_cats_pattern5
http://printsofjapan.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/kuniyoshi_skull_cats_pattern5.jpg?w=260&h=367

http://www.printsofjapan.com/Image2/Kuniyoshi_Datsueba_neck_wrestling5.jpg

Kuniyoshi_cat_made_of_cats5
http://printsofjapan.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/kuniyoshi_cat_made_of_cats5.jpg?w=384&h=433

Kuniyoshi_cat_head_made_of_cats5
http://printsofjapan.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/kuniyoshi_cat_head_made_of_cats5.jpg?w=384&h=512

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Nissaka_Man_receiving_a_child_fron_a_ghost.jpg




And last but not least, my ultimate favorite for a few years now --


File:Mitsukuni defying the skeleton spectre invoked by princess Takiyasha.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Mitsukuni_defying_the_skeleton_spectre_invoked_by_princess_Takiyasha.jpg

http://www.japansociety.org/resources/legacy/event/Kuniyoshi25_Large_450.jpg

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Sometime in the future I may put the artworks of other Japanese print makers, as well! In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed these unique prints and learned that art truly is in the eye of the beholder!

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With warm regards,

Christina E. Pietrowski






  




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