Friday, 26 November 2010

ARTS AND CRAFTS REVIEW: Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo - Melanie Trede and Lorenz Bichler

Release Date: 25/10/10


Literally meaning pictures of the floating world , ukiyo-e refers to the famous Japanese woodblock print genre that originated in the 17th century and is practically synonymous with the Western world's visual characterization of Japan. Because they could be mass produced, ukiyo-e works were often used as designs for fans, New Year's greeting cards, single prints, and book illustrations, and traditionally they depicted city life, entertainment, beautiful women, kabuki actors, and landscapes. The influence of ukiyo-e in Europe and the USA, often referred to as Japonisme, can be seen in everything from impressionist painting to today's manga and anime illustration.Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) was one of the last great artists in the ukiyo-e tradition. Though he captured a variety of subjects, his greatest talent was in creating landscapes of his native Edo (modern-day Tokyo) and his final masterpiece was a series known as 100 Famous Views of Edo (1856-1858). This resplendent complete reprint pairs each of the 120 large-scale illustrations with a description, allowing readers to plunge themselves into Hiroshige's beautifully vibrant landscapes.


Art work from the east has long since been coveted by western collectors and whilst some of the names aren’t that well known, there is one stands out from a great many. That of Hiroshige, a ukiyo-e artist born in 1797. Within this title is a whole set of beautiful artwork that has inspired artists such as Van Gogh as well as a large proportion of modern tattooist artists. This title is beautifully presented with a great selection of prints recreated from the original woodblocks held within the Ota Memorial Museum in Tokyo and backed with the authoritative voices of Lorenz Bichler as well as Melanie Trede who really brings the artwork to a modern audience.

All in a great title and one that will be treasured by any who have the chance to view this beautiful selection. I can guarantee that a great many pieces may well end up being tattooed in the near future which makes this a spellbinding coffee table title.

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