Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hishikawa, Moronobu

Beauty looking back
Hanging scroll, Ink, color on silk
63.0 x 31.2 cm
The Tokyo National Museum, Japan

Hishikawa Moronobu (1618 – 1694) was a Japanese painter and printmaker known as the first great master of the ukiyo-e, a genre depicting entertainment districts and other scenes of urban life. Hishikawa's importance lies in his effective consolidation of the ephemeral styles of early genre painting and illustration, creating the first truly mature form of ukiyo-e, in a style of great strength and presence that would set the standards for generations of artists who followed.
His style, one of controlled, powerful brushstrokes and solid, dynamic figures provided the groundwork for ukiyo-e masters of the following two centuries.

In this work, he has produced a memorable depiction of a woman who wears an obi sash that was then popular and has been walking somewhere but has stopped to take a look backward. This masterpiece is one of Hishikawa's best-known hand-paintings.
Ukiyo-e artists have influenced later some great European artists.