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History of Advertising & Media

Autor:   •  September 23, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  1,472 Words (6 Pages)  •  413 Views

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Jefferson C. Taylor

Joel Skaja

History of Advertising & Media

01 November 2014

Ukiyo-e Today

As an art genre born of very little outside influence, Japanese ukiyo-e managed to have a tremendous impact on international trends and artists. Core elements that define the style, as well it's overall composition and aesthetic, have lasting universal appeal. Beyond it's humble beginnings, Japanese ukiyo-e has endured and evolved well into the 21st century, continuing to inspire modern art.

In an effort to both introduce and simplify, ukiyo-e is a term derived from the Japanese Ukiyo (浮世 "Floating World") that describes Japanese woodblock prints aimed largely at the prosperous merchant class in transitory poster-like function, primarily representing the hedonism of the Edo period (1603-1867). These works often featured beautiful & fashionable women (geisha), theater performers (kabuki), and erotica, while at times exploring dark, supernatural themes.

The technique employed to produce these pieces involved an artist's image being glued face down onto a piece of flat cherry wood, which would then be cut away based upon the drawing's outlines. With ink applied to the wood's surface, a sheet of paper followed. A hand-held baren tool would then be used to burnish the backside of the paper, effectively transferring the image to the paper. Initially, the prints were all monochromatic (occasionally being colored by hand afterward), until the first polychromatic print was produced around 1765. This production process was a team effort involving three distinct parties; the artist that supplied the original design, the engraver responsible for carving the wooden block once the design had been applied, and finally the printer who handled the inking and burnishing.

Having now covered what ukiyo-e is and how it is made, it is important to recognize a few of the founding artists responsible for the proliferation of this genre. Often seen as the 'founder' of ukiyo-e, Hishikawa Moronobu traveled to Edo late in the 1660s, in an effort to study traditional painting styles (tosa). It was there he began his quick rise to fame as a master of the craft, until his death in 1694. His distinctive style, in which strong black lines dominated his designs, had hit it's stride by the 1680s. In addition to the dynamic, black lined nature of his work, he epitomized the beauty of male and female forms in ways previously unseen by those before him, thus making him the first master of ukiyo-e.

Although little is known about his early life history, Suzuki Harunobu is widely recognized for his innovative approach in


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