On the day 10 of our Culture Tourist Art Blogmas 2020, we’re in for a real treat – one of the most beautiful 19th-century Japanese prints. Today, we’re hosting Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s Nichiren in Snow at Tsukahara.
Art Blogmas 2020
Japanese prints were quite popular in Europe during the 19th century. Many of the first modern painters looked for inspiration at the Far-East, and these Japanese prints were easily available to peek into that fantastic culture.
Utagawa Kuniyoshi: Nichiren in Snow at Tsukahara
Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi was a son of the silk-dyer, and one of the last 19th-century masters of woodblock printing.
Although the composition may look purely decorative, Utagawa is depicting a part of the important historical story in this winter landscape. This print is a part of the series Sketches of the Life of the Great Priest.
A person walking through the snow is Nichiren, a Buddhist priest from the 13th century. His surroundings show Sado Island, where he was exiled between 1271 and 1274.
Utagawa is also using only a few colours for his composition: black, white, blue, brown and light red. He’s not grading them, so they look quite flat. But, despite that, he managed to show the depth of space with the drawing.
The print has an utterly decorative feel because of the white dots with which he’s depicting the snowflakes. Something, we would hardly find in the European art of that time.
If you don’t want to miss other paintings I’m going to share with you in this year’s Art Blogmas, be sure to check in here tomorrow at 7:30 am. Or, follow along on Culture Tourist Facebook page and Instagram profile.