Sunday, August 15, 2021

An introduction to Japanese Art on Making A Mark

One of the most popular of my themed projects related to Japanese art and artists - and Hokusai and Hiroshige in particular - and the impact this art had on later artists. 

This post highlights my past blog posts on these topics

The Making A Mark Japanese Art project


South Wind, Clear Sky (Gaifū kaisei) By Katsushika Hokusai (1760 – 1849)
also known as Red Fuji, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper, 9 5/8 x 14 in. (24.4 x 35.6 cm)


Introducing Japanese Art

Below are links to the various posts about Japanese art which have appeared on Making A Mark. 

The majority are associated with an art project I undertook in 2008 to research Japanese art and find out more about the main artists associated with ukiyo-e.

The Making A Mark project serves as an introduction to Japanese Art and ukiyo-e - the Japanese wood block print. 

A significant element of my interest related to the compositional devices used in japanese art - and how these went on to influence western art in the latter half of the nineteenth century.

I created the blog posts from various resources I found online - and I also created a website to record the links as I progressed with the project. 

Each of the links below is explained in the short descriptions

The influence of Japanese Art - a long detailed post!
  • There's something about Japanese Art which draws me in. I'm not sure quite what it is however I'm very sure that learning more about it will help me with the development of my own drawings and artwork. It had a significant impact on the artists who I studied last year so I feel that being open to its influence can only be beneficial. 
  • I'm going to look first at resources and then at how I might usefully frame my approach to this project.
  • These include:
    • books about Japanese art
    • profiles of individual artists
    • Context for the development of ukiyo-e
    • Compositional devices learned from Japan
    • Formats derived from Japan
    • Subject matter
    • Making connections - between Japanese art and other artists, notably Van Gogh, Whistler, Degas and Cassatt
The concepts and characteristics of ukiyo-e
This week, I'm going to try and summarise what seem to be the subjects and characteristics of the Japanese wood block print - ukiyo-e. I'm going to move from overview through to detail as I work through this project so I'm starting with the big picture.
  • This is an attempt an overview of the subject matter.
  • Then I'm going to use the western conventions of elements and principles of composition to organise new information so that hopefully it makes more sense to me within a more familiar context.
  • This post aims to provide an overview of the different elements of design used in a Japanese wood block print - ukiyo-e. (For an explanation of the elements of design see this post Composition - The Elements of Design)
Principles of design and composition and ukiyo-e 
  • My intention was to do an overview about the principles informing the design of Japanese art and prints - but I'm overwhelmed and becoming aware of how absorbing this project might become! My new aim is to set down some initial impressions - and I'll revisit this topic again towards the end of this project.
  • I'm also trying to relate a Japanese way of making pictures to western concepts of what's important in terms of Principles of Design (as discussed in the last project) Again this is more about me finding a way to understand what's going on initially rather than saying the western way of looking at things is best. As we'll see as this project progresses, there's an awful lot of western art which adopted conventions which originated in the East.
  • I came across this fish in a book I bought last Friday. It's called Japonisme - Cultural Crossings between Japan and the West, Lionel Lambourne, Phaidon Press. Lionel Lambourne OBE is the former Head of Paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1986-1993) and a curator.
The Visual Translation of Japan in Late 19th-Century Paris
  • Japonism is the term used for the influence of Japanese art in the west. This post is part of my Japanese Art project and is a combination of my own initial research on this topic and notes I made at a seminar I attended at the National Gallery in February called Gained in Translation: The Visual Translation of Japan in Late 19th-Century Paris - given by Karly Allen.
  • Whistler, Tissot, Monet, Manet and Degas were all buying up Japanese prints. Comparisons were made with the great artists of the western traditions of printing eg Durer. Europeans were 'discovering' Japanese art - which of course already existed even if the western world didn't know about it! Many of the artists developed very significant collections of Japanese Art
  • This blog post is part of my project on Japanese Art (see other posts) and is concerned with how Japanese wood block prints associated with ukiyo-e were made. It contains an overview of what they are and how the prints were made and provides links to further information.
  • We visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew this week and I attempted to draw the Japanese Gateway (the Chokushi-Mon) while at the same time trying to remember all the things I'd been learning as part of my Japanese Art Project. This post is about I designed my sketch and the things I now need to do to translate it into a more formal drawing.
The Art of Hiroshige
  • Throughout my Japanese Art project, I've become more and more aware that Hiroshige produced some really stunning woodblock prints and excelled at landscapes. So for my last post of April I'm going to focus on Ando Hiroshige aka Utagawa Hiroshige.

    Later posts on the topic of Japanese Art


    Hokusai, Van Gogh and the iris paintings (2009)
    I've been studying an expert - Vincent Van Gogh - who, in turn took pointers from another expert - the Japanese artist Hokusai. This post comments on their various approaches to iris paintings.
    • This is the third of a series of exhibitions dedicated to Japanese Artists and Printmakers to be held at the Royal Academy of Arts.
    Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints (2012) 
    • This is an Asian Art Museum video about Great Japanese Prints by ukiyo-e printmakers Hokusai and Hiroshige
    OASC for Metropolitan Museum of Art Images (2014)
    • This includes who to locate the the ukiyo-e prints of Hokusai
    Refreshed Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art at the V&A reopens (November 2015) 

    Tomorrow I'll reproduce one of the websites I produced which is no longer online.

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