Takiyasha the Witch and the Skeleton Spectre, ukiyo-e woodblock print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi in 1844
Each of the great Japanese print masters who so influenced the Impressionists had a particular speciality: Utamaro, the great poet of eroticised femininity👄 #Hokusai and Hiroshige, the supreme geniuses of landscape 🌊 But #Kuniyoshi (1797-1861), the last and most populist of these figures, was into action-packed images with samurai warriors, legendary heroes, mythic beasts, ghouls, demons, guns and swords and beautiful women. These were the comics of his time, designed to be seen by as many people as possible and regularly copied.
❗️If you are in #Paris 🇫🇷 – until Jan 2016 – you should definitely visit the very entertaining exhibit at #lepetitpalais : “Kuniyoshi, le démon de l’estampe” (“Kuniyoshi, demon of prints”).
The exhibition explains the function of the imagery and its importance in Japanese culture. Kuniyoshi’s work has had an enormous influence on manga art and tattooing and impressionists of course
The singular character of Kuniyoshi’s work was out of keeping with the wave of decorative Japonism in Europe but, during the Second French Empire (1852-1870), it found favour with a whole generation of enlightened dealers, collectors and artists, such as Siegfried Bing, Philippe Burty, the Goncourt brothers, Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin. They were fascinated by the astonishing invention of his iconographic repertoire.