Author(s): Gian Carlo Calza
In this impressive study, Gian Carlo Calza examines images of the floating world (ukiyo-e) found in paintings, screens, illustrated books and, above all, the numerous woodblock prints that nineteenth-century French artists were to find so influential. Through six essays and six catalogue sections this book provides a fascinating and thorough introduction to the very best works of this period. The essays supply detailed background information on the history, techniques and development of ukiyo-e and the plate section has been arranged to reflect the six great themes of the floating world - theatre, tradition, nature, landscape, town life and feminine beauty - developed by the artists to satisfy the demands and tastes of their customers. Within each section, works have been arranged in chronological order and according to the various schools. These remarkable images illustrate the tastes, habits and passions of the people of Edo: fashionable scenes set in the nightless city of Yoshiwara, festive excursions to admire cherry blossoms or maple leaves, parties in sailing boats and firework displays. A great number are, in fact, precious posters promoting kabuki actors and performances.
'There are stunningly beautiful pictures of actors and courtesans, prostitutes, landscapes and flowers... Degas borrowed from them, Van Gogh copied them, and almost every important European artist was influenced by them.' (The Sunday Times)
Gian Carlo Calza is Professor of East Asian Art History at the University of Venice, and Director of the International Hokusai Research Centre in Milan. He has published many books, exhibition catalogues and articles on Hokusai, and is currently preparing a catalogue raisonne of Hokusai's paintings. He was awarded the 2004 Uchiyama Prize by the International Ukiyo-e Society of Tokyo for his contribution to the study of Japanese Ukiyo-e ('Floating World') culture.
Note to the Reader o Chronology o Essay Section: 'Visions of the Floating World' by Gian Carlo Calza, 'Theatrical Prints' by Junko Muto, 'Beauty and the Actor' by Kobayashi Tadashi, 'Poetic Images: Literary Dimensions of Early Ukiyo-e' by John Carpenter, 'Shunga: Erotic Art in the Edo Period' by Timon Screech, 'Birth and Development' by Naito Masato, 'Three Types of Ukiyo-e Printing' by Asano Shugo o Plate section: Introduction to the Floating World, I. Scenes of Passion: The Kabuki Theatre, II. Past and Present: The Tradition, III. The Relationship with Nature, IV. Landscapes, V. Town Life, VI. Beautiful Women in the Floating World o List of Works o Glossary o Artist Biographies o Bibliography o Index.