The temporary exhibition ‘Vogue in Japanese art’ presented a selection of 70 outstanding Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints from the Corfu Museum of Asian Art’s preeminent Japanese collection.
During the Edo Period (1615-1868), a unique Japanese art developed known as ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world”. For the first time ukiyo-e artists were inspired by the interests and preferences of the common people, depicting their everyday life, especially scenes from the pleasure quarters of Edo (modern Tokyo), where the style dominated.
Entertainment in the Edo period meant “amusement” and “theater”. These were translated into ukiyo-e woodblock prints of bijin-ga “pictures of beautiful women” and yakusha-e “pictures of kabuki actors”. These pictures had to keep up with the fashion in vogue at the time. Beauties and actors were depicted as celebrities, while publishers promoted these prints in a way similar to present-day fashion magazines, photographs and posters.
Vogue in Japanese art focused on seductive courtesans and geisha modeling colorful kimono, elaborate hairstyles and stylish accessories, princesses with elegant kimono and costly hair ornaments, married women of the warrior class or the wealthy merchants with lavishly decorated textiles, engaged in leisure activities. It, also, focused on men’s fashion, especially actors wearing magnificent costumes in full make up, promoting the theater productions as well as the actors themselves.
Vivid full-color images of beauties and dashing actors invite visitors to explore the most recognized ukiyo-e artists such as Harunobu, Kiyonaga, Hokusai, Utamaro, Kuniyoshi, Sharaku, Shunsho and Toyokuni. The rich culture and style of Edo fashion amazed the visitors.
Supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation