Japanese woodblock prints!

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Came across this article on DAZED about Japanese woodblock prints being publicly downloadable trough the library of congress! So, I went to the website and looked trough all ca. 2500 prints and selected my favourites. After yesterdays race of Youtube video-watching, to get more inspiration, I’m thinking that maybe I should try painting on wood. I’ve never done that before. I though it could be fun to see historical pieces made by the ever so skilful Japanese people!


17th century:

Lots of images of fighting which does not inspire me as much as these two about love… or just sex without commitment. What do I know. But even if it’s only about sexual pleasures then they are still my favourites from this time! The outlines reminds me of using a fine line pen. The introduction to color also made me happy. It looks like a mix between watercolour and color pencils made of pressed pigments.


18th century:

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This collection from this century seem to be putting lots of focus on woman and their daily adventures. The images I picked is showing my fascination for color and the extravagant garments they wore in every occasion.


19th century:

This century held many landscape images and had less focus on the individual. I’ve also notice that the attention to detail has become more refined in some artists and others almost make the outline appear as if vanished and the only thing left is the water color. Im sure that time has left it’s marks as well (in making the images “float together” more) but you can still notice a difference in general technique. In some of the images we see the story of a camera being used to capture the moment (did I hear inception?). Images from this century show us the cultivation of westernised culture and fashion. Late 19th century images show us how political the art has become. Instead of using it to depict memories it is used to prove a point or as propaganda of some kind.


20th century:

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Something happens during the 20th century and the artform takes a turn. We now notice that the technique is totally different. The shadowing is different, the attention to details are also more extravagant then previous decades.

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The subject matter is now centred around nationalism and war, due to Pearl Harbor.


Conclusion

I really enjoyed looking trough all the images currently available. It’s like a history lesson  in both art and human history. As always I can not put enough emphasise on what the world of art means to me and continue to do so. Even if it is art from the past and not contemporary I feel like it will always be relevant to consume all sorts of information related visual arts for my own personal happiness. I’ve always admired the skilfulness the Japanese hold regarding any sort of occupation not only painters. Their minimalistic approach to woodblock prints have more or less not been manoeuvred by globalisation. Sure, one can see the fusion throughout the timeline but the core ascetics stays the same. To be able to transcend the same style, generation after generation, is a collective effort as much as it is a individual one. In short, this was fun. I actually enjoy tasks that people find to be monoton. It’s soothing… like meditation.

Love B

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