Ukiyo-e genre art has been ever popular with western cultures since the 19th century, forming an eclectic and unique style of art representing traditional Japanese cultures and art forms. Today in our product focus, we look at one of our latest & most beautiful prints within the silk pocket square collection in the shape of the Portrait Of Kansake Yagoro Noriyasu.
This pocket square depicts a samurai named Kansake Yagoro Noriyasu and was created by Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Within the art, we see Kansake represented fighting, although no other samurai is present with him. Contrary to popular belief, samurais were not only fighters but were regarded as intellectuals, poets, or philosophers.
The art belongs to the popular Ukiyo-e genre, which emerged in Japan in the 17th through 19th centuries, representing pictures of the floating world. Many different techniques were used within the genre, such as manual print on hand-made paper using woodblocks or more classic paintings. The subjects were wide but mainly included female figures, landscapes, and sumo wrestlers becoming legendary in their own right.
Ukiyo-e was central to forming the West's perception of Japanese art in the late 19th century, mainly the landscapes of Hokusai and Hiroshige. From the 1870s onwards, Japonisme became a prominent trend and had a strong influence on the early Impressionists such as Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet and Claude Monet, and had an impact on Post-Impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh, and Art Nouveau artists such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798- 1861) is one of the last great masters of the ukiyo-e genre and was mainly known for portraying famous samurai and legendary heroes. He represented a sense of action in the samurai's faces and behaviour, often depicted in combat. Kuniyoshi also made prints of more traditional subjects such as landscapes or bijin-ga - a term to describe pictures of beautiful women in Japanese art.
His artwork also incorporated aspects of Western representation in landscape painting and caricature. Alongside being an inspired artist, Kuniyoshi was known as an excellent teacher and had numerous pupils who continued his branch of the Utagawa school. Typically his students began an apprenticeship in which they worked primarily on musha-e in style similar to that of their master. As they became established as independent artists, many developed highly innovative techniques of their own. His most important and notible student was Yoshitoshi, who is now regarded as the "last master" of the Japanese woodblock print.
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