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Unformatted text preview: Japan 6 ARTS OF THE FLOATING WORLD I. Arts of the Townsfolk A. Towards the end of the 17 th century, a brilliant and rather raffish culture developed in the thriving cities of Japan B. While the aristocracy clung to older arts—traditional music, Noh Drama, the tea ceremony—the townsfolk demanded lusty pleasures C. They found this in what was called the Floating World of restaurants and theaters —actors, prostitutes, wrestlers, singers and dancers 1.“Floating” because it is transitory D. It was a world that may be glimpsed in the wood block prints illustrating the vivid life of the big cities: Ukiyo-e: art of the Floating World E. This colorful world -- escape from the often dull lives led by the merchant class F. The wood blocks visually evoked this world II. Printmaking A. The technique of wood block prints-developed in Ming dynasty China B. Originally the prints were done in black with color added by hand C. By mid 18 th century, woodblock printing had shifted to multicolored prints D. Instead of cutting a single block it was necessary to cut a separate block for most of the colors E. The business of block printing was an enterprise in which publishers engaged painters to create designs and block cutters and printers to produce them F. Here is the process 1. First, the artist-designer painted the design in black on thin paper 2. The designs were pasted face down on the smooth woodblock (which was painted white to give design maximum visibility) 3. The cutting process involved cutting away all the white, leaving only the design which now appeared in black against the raw wood background 4. Several prints were made in black from this key block and sent to the artist, who indicated the colors in each area of the design 5. More blocks were cut reserving only the area of one color on each block, cutting the background away 6.When all the blocks for the colors were ready to be printed, they were painted with water mixed with a little paste and the dampened paper was laid down and rubbed vigorously 7. The pressure and dampness of paper lifted the color from each block--kami G. When Japanese prints came to Europe in the late 19 th century, they were greatly admired by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters—including Manet, Monet, Degas, and Whistler H. Hokusai’s Great Wave was the best loved print of all—inspiration for Debussy’s La Mer 1. Fractals!!—a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole— self-similarity 2.Mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term in 1975 3.Natural objects that approximate fractals are clouds, mountain ranges, forests, lighning bolts, snowflakes—and waves!...
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- Fall '11
- Music, Woodblock printing, G. Kabuki