Utagawa Kuniyoshi: the visionary and fluctuating world

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI: THE VISIONARY OF THE FLUCTUATING WORLD

Utagawa Kuniyoshi was a visionary artist.
His bizarre worlds, visionary landscapes, beautiful women, but also Kabuki actors, imaginary animals, in addition to legendary heroes, samurai and bandits, are part of the works of this artist who lived between 1797 and 1861 and who, in the last few years, has been the protagonist of several exhibitions.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi was the master of ukiyo-e (a genre of Japanese woodblock printing on paper) in the early 18th century, a style which has influenced the culture of manga, anime (Japanese, and not only, animation), tattoos and contemporary pop culture.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Teppozū
Serie: Luoghi famosi di Edo (Tōto meisho), circa 1832 -1833 – 26,5×39,0 cm

WHO IS UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s fame is connected with the series of polychrome xylographies illustrating 108 heroes of the Chinese tale The Shuihu Zhuan (Water Margin), become a real best seller in China and in Japan at the end of the 18th century, and which narrates the adventures of a gang of bandits who defended the people against injustice and corruption of the government.

The characters illustrated by Utagawa Kuniyoshi are violent, powerful, armed, with muscular bodies and covered in tattoos which today inspire manga, anime, and international tattooists and designers.

Besides, Utagawa Kuniyoshi is famous for his magician’s skill with shadows and complex images resembling Arcimboldo’s works, that is to say images inserted in other images, and parodies of stories and battles whose protagonists are animals, objects, sweets and food. Ironic and funny works which play with feelings and emotions like nobody before him had done. Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s images are imaginary, elaborate, full of colour and very detailed.

SUCCESS OF UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

Very appreciated in the West, the reproductions of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s works has arrived in Europe and especially in France (Claude Monet owned some reproductions hung on the kitchen wall of his famous house in Giverny) up to the present day and to the contemporary pop culture.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi
L’universo femminile-Teppozu
Serie: Luoghi famosi di Edo (Tōto meisho) – 1852 – 37,8 x 25,6 cm

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI: AN EXHIBITION IN ITALY

When: From 4 october 2017 to 28 january 2018
Where: Museo della Permanente, Milan.

 

Tickets: 13 €

LINK: official website – http://www.kuniyoshimilano.it

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