Right now at the Fukuoka City Art Museum is an exhibition of 5 of the most influential artists of the U-kiyoe, wood-block printing style. I’ve seen an exhibition of paintings by Hokusai quite recently which was really good, so I was keen to see more of his pictures as well as see other famous artists who used the same style.
The five artists featured are Utamaru, Sharaku, Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kuniyoshi. The first two did mainly portraits, Utamaru portraits of women and Sharaku portraits of Kabuki actors in costume and character.
Hokusai and Hiroshige’s work is similar to each other, mostly landscape pictures focusing on the route from Kyoto to Tokyo. Hokusai is famous for his views of Mount Fuji, but he also has a series of pictures of waterfalls and bridges and then pictures of birds and flowers. Hiroshige’s work uses different perspective with a lot of dramatic weather captured such as heavy rain and snow, he also does pictures of birds and flowers.
Finally Kuniyoshi does more humorous pictures, depicting animals in the guise of people, cats forming the shape of words and people’s faces formed out of bodies. His work is the most modern looking and you can see how modern day manga artists may have been inspired by his work.
You are not allowed to take any photos of the exhibition but I bought some postcards from a few pictures on display.
The exhibition is on until March 22nd at Fukuoka City Art Museum, I really recommend going if you have any interest in this style of painting. It costs ¥1,500 for adults. There is a small exhibition next to the main one included in the price of the ticket that shows erotic pictures done in the same style by a different artist which is also interesting, not suitable for kids!!
Access: The Museum is within walking distance of Ohori Koen subway station, exit 3 & 6 are the closest