Les saisons par les grands maîtres de l'estampe japonaise
Authors: Katsushika Hokusai, Hiroshige, Amélie Balcou
Great travelers and nature lovers, Hokusai (1760-1849) and Hiroshige (1797-1858) revolutionized the art of Japanese printmaking from the end of the eighteenth century, bringing the genre of landscape to its peak. Populating their views with scenes from everyday life, they have largely adopted the theme of the seasons, the heart of Japanese thought since the end of the Yamato period (250-710). As early as the sixth century, poets took possession of the subject by associating it with an own iconography: cherry blossoms became the great symbol of spring and the sun that of summer.
Autumn calls for contemplation of maple leaves and the moon. Winter comes with the first snow ... Artists, largely influenced by the Chinese model, will then appropriate this simplified vision of the cycle of nature. From the time of Heian (794-1185) emerged new genres related to the cycle of nature, such as paintings of the four seasons, twelve months of the year and famous places.
However, it was at the time of Edo (1600-1868) that the theme of nature has its greatest success with print, and especially with the landscape, conducive to the representation of the seasons. With the illustrious Hokusai and Hiroshige as leaders, landscape artists capture all the variations of nature, attach themselves to snowy scenes like sunny cherry gardens, walkers fighting the rain or admiring the glowing maple leaves. .
This genre will survive them, in Japan but also in the West where it will have a considerable influence on the work of the Impressionists. He will be reborn at the beginning of the twentieth century, with the last great Japanese masters of landscape and printmaking, and Hasui (1883-1957) who attached as much as Hokusai and Hiroshige to the representation of the seasons. From now on, the immutable cycle of nature blends into a modern landscape, upset by the great changes of the second half of the twentieth century.
Hasui updates this timeless theme, still today at the heart of the concerns of Japan today. This little box puts the spotlight on this subject so dear to the Japanese by offering a selection of the most famous prints, from the work of the greatest artists of the landscape, from the time of Hokusai to that of Hasui, and accompanying them with an explanatory booklet.