Saturday, December 15, 2007

Three Generations of Katsukawa

Shunsho (1726-1792)
c. 1767

Little did I know,

but 700 (that's about 30% )
of all the Japanese prints
in the Buckingham collection
at the Art Institute of Chicago,
came from the Katsukawa school
of actor prints,

founded by

Kasukawa Shunsho

c. 1776


What could be more forceful
and dramatic ?

and economical ?
(nothing for ornament,
everything for energy)

Shunko (1743-1812)
c. 1785

But then we come to the next generation,

Katsukawa Shunko

and things are feeling different,
more refined


and more sensual,
as the figures settle into their space,
instead of jumping out from it.

(note: I don't think these artists are fathers and sons,
but, rather, masters and students)

c. 1791

This is so gorgeous !

... I don't even want to know the story
that's being acted

Shun'ei (1762-1819)
c. 1795

And finally we get to

Katsukawa Shun'ei

The above piece reminds me of
an elaborate doll


.. and this one seems in some kind of swoon.

Might one assume that this progression of styles
reflects a similar progression
in the dramaturgy
they were depicting ?


Blogger marlyat2 said...

Is it better not to know? "I don't even want to know the story..."

How we look at an image is so different when we are part of a civilization and its meanings and when we aren't.

But time changes us; how many people know the symbology of a European Medieval madonna and child? And if we don't know, we take a different kind of interest in the fly creeping close to the blue gown, the particular fruits and flowers. Some things are closed, some open. Structure and pattern become more important. Much changes for us.

Hmm. Interesting. This seems like something for a Chris post!

January 03, 2008  

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