The Archaeological Civic Museum of Bologna, from October 12, 2018 to March 3, 2019, will host the works of the two greatest Masters of the Floating World: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).
The exhibition HOKUSAI.HIROSHIGE. Beyond the wave. Masterpieces from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibit, for the first time in Italy, an extraordinary selection of about 270 works from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
The 1930s marked the pinnacle of ukiyoe production known as images of the Floating World. At that time the most important silicon series were made by the masters who confirmed – a few decades later with the opening of the country – as the greatest names of Japanese art in the West. Hokusai immediately emerged from the outset, an artist and personality out of line who was able to represent the places and faces in a dramatic and concise manner, as well as the character and beliefs of the society of his time. He is considered one of the finest representatives of the ukiyoe pictorial vein. In his paintings on roll, but above all through his polychrome silographies, the artist knew how to interpret the world in which he lived, with free and fast lines, a wise use of color and in particular of Prussian blue, recently imported into Japan, drawing inspiration from both traditional indigenous painting and western art techniques.
Among the most successful series of this period are undoubtedly those dedicated to the famous waterfalls and bridges of Japan, even if it was with the thirty-six views of Mount Fuji that Hokusai established itself on the market of landscape images as a great master. From then on no artist of the Floating World could exempt himself from referring to his work and, in particular, to a print belonging to this series which became an icon of Japanese art: The big wave at the coast of Kanagawa.
Younger than about twenty years compared to Hokusai, Hiroshige became a famous name of ukiyoe painting shortly after the release of the thirty-six views of the master’s Mount Fuji thanks to a series, in the same horizontal format, which illustrated the great street that connected Edo (the ancient name of Tokyo) in Kyoto. It was the Fifty-three post stations of the Tōkaidō, known as “Hōeidō Tōkaidō” from the name of the publisher who launched for the success of Hiroshige.
His creative flair led him to experiment with different paper formats up to the vertical one, which took full advantage of the graphic potentialities. To the asymmetry of the composition, in a balance of fullness and emptiness that are counterbalanced in the space of the sheet, Hiroshige added an element in the foreground, of deliberately exaggerated dimensions and never shown in full, as a sort of photographic close-up, leaving all the other elements of the landscape in the background and in very small dimensions
This stylistic novelty is clearly visible in the series dedicated to the thirty-six views of Fuji, in which Hiroshige twenty years after the series of Hokusai, seeks new ways to impose itself on the market with a classic subject and marked by the fame of the master. It does so by exploiting the vertical format and citing, in some way, the Great Wave of Hokusai in the view of the Sea of Satta in the province of Suruga (1858) and again in the view of Awa. The eddies of Naruto, part of the series Illustrations of famous places of the sixty and more provinces of 1855. But the maximum expression of the graphic novelties introduced by Hiroshige can be found in his final masterpiece, interrupted by death in 1858, One hundred views of famous places of Edo, chechiude also the tour route.
The project, divided into 6 thematic sections, curated by Rossella Menegazzo with Sarah E. Thompson, is a MondoMostre Skira production with Ales S.p.A Arte Lavoro and Servizi in collaboration with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, promoted by the Municipality of Bologna | Bologna Museums Institution and sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan, the Embassy of Japan in Italy and the University of Milan.
Full € 14.00
Reduced € 12.00
Schools € 5.00
University students (Wednesday from 14.30) € 5.00
from 0 to 5 years, tour guides, accredited journalists
and gratuitousness of law
Archaeological Civic Museum
Via dell’Archiginnasio 2 – Bologna
Tel. 051 2757211