Kunisada and Japan art (1786-1865): Landscapes
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The woodblock prints of Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro, and a few others are the most famous artists of ukiyo-e to be known internationally. However, Utagawa Kunisada’s (1786-1865) reputation in Japan was the most distinguished during his lifetime.
In the art piece above, the MET Museum says, “One of a series of eleven prints on the theme of atmospheric phenomena such as mist and rain, this picture demonstrates how Kunisada has freed himself from the constraints of the conventional genre of illustrations of “famous places”. Though the distant profile of Mt. Fuji is a vestige of that tradition, the picture demonstrates a sophisticated new sensitivity to landscape which appeared in prints of the late Edo Period.”
The Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) says, “Kunisada was a man of the world, who devoted both his life and his art to Tokyo’s pleasure district. He had mastered creating seductive portraits of beautiful women, so-called bijinga.”
However, in this article, the emphasis is on the delightful landscapes of Kunisada. In the above art piece, the stunning scenery brought joy to the person sitting down and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Kunisada focused on various art themes with great success. For example, he produced refined kabuki and individual prints – that were in high demand during his lifetime.
Overall, Kunisada heavily focused on the popularity of the ukiyo-e market of his day. Hence, these landscapes provide a glimpse into a different Kunisada outside his usual art themes.
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