The Lure of the West European Elements in the Art of the Floating World

2 while it appears hatthe earliest erspect p tive

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Unformatted text preview: nting whose illustrationswere enormously influential in Japan(see fig. 2).' While it appears hatthe earliest erspect p tive woodblock prints were interiorviews, it a did not takelong for Japanese rtiststo apply such compositional modes to the depiction of landscapes.Masanobucreatednumerous o outdoor scenesutilizinghis understanding f both single- and multiple-point perspective. These experimentsoften revealedbasic misconceptions owing to his incompleteunder- 78 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE OF THE WEST FIGURE 4 Ishikawa Toyonobu (1711-1785). Perspective View of a Large Room, c. 1755. Color woodblock print; 29.3 x 42.8 cm. Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1925.1939. FIGURE 5 Anonymous (attributed to Kitao Shigemasa[1739-1820]). Bathhouseand Laundry, 1760/70. Hanging scroll (framed);ink and colors on paper; 103.5 x 187.9 cm. Purchase, Margaret O. Gentles Memorial Fund, 1971.455. MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions 79 LITTLE THE LURE FIGURE 6 Anonymous. Portrait of a Dutchman with a Servant, i75o/70. Hanging scroll; ink and colors on paper; 119.5x 44.3 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold G. Henderson, 1965.911. OF THE WEST standingof both the rules of perspectiveand the ontological assumptions that underlay them in their originalEuropeancontext. An early uki-e print that combines an interior and exterior view is FuruyamaMoromasa's Beachcombersat Shinagawa Bay (datable, on stylistic and technical evidence, to the mid-I74os;fig. 3).6 Like Masanobu'sview of the Nakamura Theater, this print is handcolored,in this case with yellow, red, orange, and pale greenish yellow. However, until the 1770s,interiorscontinuedto be the most popular subjectspresentedin the novel perspectivestyle. IshikawaToyonobu'sPerspective View of a LargeRoom (datingto about 1755;fig. 4) is an exampleof earlycolor blockprinting,a majortechnologicaladvanceover the hand-colored prints of the first half of the century. Not surprisingly Western perspective inspiredpaintingsas well as prints.Almost all the designers of Ukiyo-e prints were originally trained as painters, and many famous artistsworked both as print designersand as painterson paperand silk. The early masters of the ToriiandKaigetsud6 chools,for exams were well known for theirworks in both ple, mediums. The Art Institute is fortunate to own an earlyperspective ainting,Bathhouse p and Laundry(fig. 5).7This anonymouswork can be dated,on the basis of the costume and hair styles of the women depicted, to the 176os,the decadein which SuzukiHarunobu (d. 1770) dazzled the public with multiblock color-printeddesigns (nishiki-e,or "brocade r t pictures")hatwere exquisitely efinedin their and subtle in their coloring. Tradidrawing tionally this large painting has been attributed to Kitao Shigemasa I739-I820), the son ( of an Edo publisher. higemasa,houghinfluS t encedby Harunobu,was largelya self-taught artist;he was also a capablepoet and calligraf pher.He designedmanyillustrations or pop- 80 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE ular books and was famous for his large printsof beautifulwomen (bijin). Althoughthe bulk of eighteenth-century Ukiyo-e prints and paintingsfeaturebeautiful and fashionable young women, Kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, places famous for their scenic beauty,and scenes widely familiar from classicalpoetry,history,or mythology, a small but significantsubgenrewithin Ukiyo-e focuses on Westerners.The most importantprecedentsfor such imagesarethe screens B greatNamban("Southern arbarian") of the Momoyama and early Edo periods, which depict the arrivalof the Portuguesein Japan.'Sincethe expulsionof the Portuguese in the 1630s,very few such images of Europeans had been created. That began to changein the mid-eighteenthcentury,when LURE OF THE WEST 7 FIGURE Anonymous. Cassowary, 1790/i800. Color woodblock print; 31-5x 21.5 cm. Anonymous gift, 1931.786. FIGURE 8 Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814). Scene of a Canal in Holland, 1770/80. Color woodblock print; 24.2 x 38.3 cm. Anonymous gift, 1931.794. MuseumStudies 81 This content downloaded from on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE FIGURE 9 Utagawa Toyoharu. Newly Published Perspective Picture: The TangGate at the Palace of the Dragon King, 1780/90. Color oodblock w print; 215.4 x 39.2 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. WillardGidwitz, 1971.5o8. OF THE WEST publishers in Nagasaki started to commission imagesof the Dutch merchants ndtheir a ancillaries on Dejima to sell to the curious citizens of Japan.The Art Institute has an excellent ollectionof suchwoodblock-printed c images, ranging from the earliest-known Nagasakiprints (mid-eighteenthcentury) of Dutch men and women (the latter probably copiedfrombooks)to a seriesof extraordinary Yokohamariptychs f the mid-nineteentheno c t Edo and early Meiji periods) that tury (late offer a new rangeof Europeanand American v figures,as well as imag...
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