Japanese Prints in the Museo del Prado
Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 6/12/2013 - 10/20/2013
Organised chronologically and by type, the exhibition starts with the oldest prints in the Museum’s collection. The first dates from the late 17th century and depicts a scene printed in black ink from a single woodblock. Created by Torii Kiyonobu, it represents a scene from the play Daifukucho sankai Nagoya, performed in Edo in early 1697. The second is entitled Fisherwoman catching Ormers and a Boy. Made by Ishiwaka Toyonobu in 1760, it depicts a female diver gathering ormers from the sea and is printed from two blocks in two colours (benizuri). Following these two images, the other works in the exhibition are printed using the technique of multiple blocks in colour (nishiki-e). The earliest polychrome prints are two scenes from theTales of Ise created by Katsukawa Shunshô between 1770 and 1780. The Kensei period, which was one of the high points of Japanese printmaking, is also represented in the exhibition by the work of some of the leading Edo artists including Kitagawa Utamaro with Two young Women with a Fan, Kubo Shunman with Rural Scene, and Katsukawa Hokusai with Kameido tenjin, a view of the Temple at Kameido.Dating from the early 19th century is print on the rebellion at Hôgen by Katsukawa Shuntei and a portrait of a courtesan from Yoshiwara by Kikugawa Eizan. Utagawa Hiroshige, who was particularly renowned in the West through the japonisme movement, is also present in the exhibition with seven landscapes. The exhibition concludes with a panoramic view of Lake Shinobazu by Chikanobu and a Sugoroku gameboard, which is a game similar to snakes and ladders.