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Ukiyo-e

Updated: Aug 13

Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese art form that originated in the Edo period, from the 17th to the 19th century. Ukiyo-e, which means "pictures of the floating world," refers to a style of woodblock printing that was popular among the common people of Japan, particularly in the cities of Edo (now Tokyo) and Kyoto.

The art of ukiyo-e is characterized by its use of bold colors, strong lines, and flat planes of color. The subject matter of ukiyo-e prints typically depicted scenes from everyday life, such as landscapes, street scenes, and portraits of geishas and actors. They were often produced in large numbers and sold cheaply, making them accessible to a wide range of people.

One of the most famous artists of the ukiyo-e tradition is Katsushika Hokusai, who is best known for his series of prints entitled "Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji." The series includes the famous print "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," which depicts a powerful wave towering over boats on the sea, with Mount Fuji in the background.

Another famous ukiyo-e artist is Utagawa Hiroshige, whose prints depict landscapes and scenes from daily life. Hiroshige's series "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo" includes prints such as "Rain Shower at Shono" and "Fireworks at Ryogoku Bridge."

The process of creating ukiyo-e prints involved a team of craftsmen, including the artist, the carver, and the printer. The artist would create the design, which was then carved onto a wooden block by the carver. The printer would then use the block to create the final print, applying ink to the block and pressing it onto paper.

Today, ukiyo-e remains an important part of Japanese art and culture. The prints are highly collectible and can be found in museums and private collections around the world. They have also influenced many Western artists, including Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet, who were drawn to the bold colors and simple lines of ukiyo-e prints.

Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese art form that originated in the Edo period. It is characterized by its bold colors, strong lines, and flat planes of color, and depicts scenes from everyday life. Ukiyo-e prints have had a lasting impact on Japanese art and culture, and continue to be admired and collected by art lovers around the world.


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