Japanese Artists

Figure 1.--This Ukiyo-e by Toyonobu Ishikawa dates to about the 1750s. Ukiyo-e is an art form depicting the increasingly urbanizd and hedonistic life style of Edo society by the mid-18th century. It is best known for beautiful prints and paintings of beautiful, but slightly aloof courtesans an actresses. This one, however, depicts a tender domstic scene a mother and son. Notice the careful depiction of the boy's toys. Ishikawa is known for his rose prints.

We do not know much about Japanese art, but the country has a long, important tradition of art. And in the modern era, the Japanese estehic of simplicity an understatement has inflnced Western art. Japanese artistic endevors include a wide range of artistic styles and media. The visual arts includes ceramics (including ancient pottery), sculpture (wood and bronze), ink drawing/painting (silk and paper), calligraphy, and oil painting. The history of Japanese art begins with the production of ceramics (tenth millennium BC). Complex art is believed to have come with the spread of Buddhism (7th and 8th centuries AD). Painting is not as important in Japan as in the West, although drawing is probbly morevimportant. And in particular porraiture is far less important. This significantly affects the number of image that can be used to further our study of childood, both fashion and activities. The arts in Japan were patronized and promoted promoted by a series of imperial courts, aristocratic clans, and religious groups. This was of course similar to the West, except in the West it was not the case in clasical times or in Christioan Europe as the Renaisance developed. Here men and woman beyond the royal courts and the airistocracy commisioned art work and promoted the arts. This only began in Japan with increasing urbanization by the mid-18th century annd the Meiji Restoration along with industrialization (1870s). There are both religious and secular art, but even Japanese secular art to a greater ectent than in the West is imbued with religious principles (Buddhist and Confucian). The Zen concept that the material world is part of an all-encompassing whole is particularly important.

Ishikawa, Toyonobu (1711-85)

Here we have an Edo print entitled 'Ane ototo no isakai' (Brother and sister). The artist was Toyonobu Ishikawa (1711-85), a highly prolific print maker. Unlike important Western artists, very little is known about him. This is geberally the ase of Japanese artists before the modern age. They did not have the same social status as Western artists. It was created some tome about 1751-64. He specialized in Ukiyo-e, meaning images of the hedonistic culture develing in Edo in the 18th century. He specialized in images of beautiful women, actresses and cortesans, including a few mostly seni-nude images. It shows a young woman, presumably a mother, with and a young boy playing with his toys. Toyonobu emerged as one of the leading producers of color prints, chiefly benizuri-e (rose prints). The image here is a good examole, only two colors including rose (figure 1). He stopped producing his ukiyo-e shortly after Suzuki Harunobu began producing full-color print (nishiki-e) (1765). He is known to have only one important pupil, Ishikawa Toyomasa, who is known primarily for depictions of children at play. He may have been Toyonobu's son. The print is held in the Japanese prints and drawings collection of the Library of Congress.


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Created: 1:28 AM 10/14/2017
Last updated: 1:28 AM 10/14/2017