Published on the occasion of the exhibition Harunobu, un poète du féminin (Harunobu, a poet of the feminine), Musée Guimet from June 18 to September 22, 2014.
Suzuki Harunobu (c1725-1770) is one of the most famous creators of ukiyo-e prints.
He was an innovator, the first to produce prints printed in many colours, nicknamed "brocade prints" (nishiki-e) in 1765, which surpassed by their richness the prints using only two or three colours.
Thanks to him, the colour prints that seduced Europe in the 19th century received the widest diffusion in 18th century Japan.
This was thanks to a process that he did not invent, but that he was the first to use, after having illustrated poor quality books, like his predecessor, Moronobu (1618?-1694).
The starting point for colour printing was the production of a special kind of calendar, which was only produced by a few publishers, so that art lovers had fun inventing and making them, which could escape censorship.
In order to interest a small but demanding public, these calendars were luxurious in their paper, the pigments used, and certain processes such as embossing (karazuri). An embossing that Edmond de Goncourt would like very much.
These beautiful little objects gave birth to the "brocade prints", the first to be cared for by their material aspect. Thus began not the ukiyo-e, but its brilliant period, and this, thanks to the colours that the development of xylography allowed to reproduce.
Harunobu developed a wide variety of subjects, from classical poetry to contemporary beauty. Like many artists of his time, Harunobu also produced a number of shunga, or erotic images.
With Harunobu the characteristic awkwardness of the so-called "primitive" print disappeared and a moment of balance in the art of printmaking was achieved. On the other hand, while the whole evolution of woodcutting shows a very clear tendency towards realism, never before has a draftsman's work been imbued with poetry and romanticism: everything is transposed into an ethereal and idealized universe of dreams and lyricism.
Number of pages: 48
Number of illustrations: 48
Book format: Paperback without flap
- July 2014
- FLAMMARION SA
- FLAMMARION SA
- 17 × 24 × 0.4 cm
- Paris - Musée des Arts asiatiques–Guimet
- Art movement
- Asiatic art