Culture

Masters of Japanese prints: Hokusai and Hiroshige landscapes

BY ISLA KOUASSI-KAN

IMAGES ALSO BY ISLA KOUASSI-KAN

From the 1830s to the 1850s, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797 – 1858) have developed a new style when it comes to landscape prints. Their artwork thrived in Japan and would later come to dominate the art world of the west.

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The Exhibition at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery explores the way by which Hokusai adopted the use of Prussian blue dye to create his masterpiece The Great Wave of Kanagawa in the Thirty- six View of Mount Fuji series. He was the first woodblock artist to make the focus of his pieces on landscapes and with that invention, he created a whole new genre of art.

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From there the exhibition moves on to Hiroshige who inspired by Hokusai, created his own series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōaidō Road. His work takes the spectator across mountain ranges, over roadside shacks and gives you an insight into local inhabitant’s lives.

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To experience beautifully displayed Asian prints alongside the equipment used to produced them, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery should be next on the list. In amongst the other fascinating exhibitions put on at this venue sits a gem, where the visitor is transported into 19th century Japanese culture and can experience the environment through vibrant prints.

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Running into the new year, the Masters of Japanese prints exhibition is worth a visit. Whether it be to experience the artwork or the culture. For me at least it was a valuable discovery.

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