IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NEW BEDFORD FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
MARCH 9, 2023 – JUNE 4, 2023
The term ukiyo-e (浮世絵) translates to “picture(s) of the floating world,” referring to fleeting images of glamor, beauty and fashion. Ukiyo-e prints were popular in Edo (present-day Tokyo) among common folk and were a dynamic art form for more than 200 years. Mass produced, affordable and focused on favorite subjects such as beautiful women, Kabuki actors, and picturesque landscapes, these images offered an escape from everyday life.
The ukiyo-e artist Utagawa Hiroshige frequently utilized bokashi (ぼかし), a method of pigment gradation, to create a range of color, often in areas of sky or water to add depth. Hiroshige is known for his virtuoso use of color and perspective in meisho-e (名所絵 pictures of famous places) and landscapes. While these prints contain too many colors to be considered aizuri-e, the areas of bright blue are striking, and the prominence of the color in Hiroshige’s work reflects a popular style of the period.