After a period of nearly 150 years of Civil War the Edo Period brings with it Ukiyo-e artwork (translated as pictures of the floating world.) The artwork, mostly woodblock prints and painting depicts, nature, towns, actors, wrestlers, and the human figure (including erotica.)
As with European art, we are seeing predominately male artists depicting female figures. Female figures are mostly seen in acts of seduction, beauty, or caregiving. There is a great deal of voyeurism in this art.
What we are seeing in European art is a flattening of the figure from the time of Raphael (1483 – 1520) to Egon Schiele (1890 – 1918) Toulouse Lautrec (1864 – 1901). We are moving from form to flatter shape with a focus on the outline and overlap.
What are some qualities Ukiyo-e art is incorporating.?
- The depth of space is limited and the ground is tipped up.
- The figure is flat and is about overlaps rather than foreshortening.
- Characteristic displays of limbs – hands and feet have fingers and toes and nails.
- Genitals are never shown except in erotica when they are the point.
- Nudity is seldom complete.
- The face shows expression.
- The shape of the body expresses the emotion or motive of the figure.
Western Artists Influenced by Ukiyo-e Art and proposed lesson.
We borrow the sensibility of Japanese Ukiyo-e prints of figures and combine them with a contemporary understanding of our world. We are not old Japan or old Europe. We must consider the border of our page, incorporate one pattern, consider greatly the overall shape of the figure, have expression in the face (if see) and offer characteristic expression of hands and feet while using only height and width of the figure predominately drawn in outline.