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Art & History

Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro: the Japanese art arrives in Milan

News > Art & History | Hokusai, Hiroshige and Utamaro: the Japanese art arrives in Milan

The 2016/17 season of exhibitions in Milan is coming. There will be in fact a retrospective program that will place Milan as one of the best cities to attend, likely more than other European capitals.

One of the most awaited is “Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro. Places and Faces of Japan” organized by the Royal Palace and dedicated precisely to these three great Japanese masters Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806).

the Japanese art arrives in Milan


At the exhibition there is a selection of woodblock prints and books from the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art polychrome, including the iconic “The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji” and the series of “Mount Fuji in Clear Weather, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji” by Hokusai.

The exhibition wants to pay tribute to the three greatest masters of ukiyo-e, that is, the kind of Japanese art print on paper with wooden matrices become very popular in the Edo period, and that has revolutionized the way of painting, especially among the less noble classes, who could not afford the canvases for painting.

The masterpieces of Japanese art in Milan

kitagawa utamaro masterpieces in Milan


The exhibition is divided into 5 sections: “Landscapes and famous places”, “Literary Tradition and famous views”, “Rivals” nature “,” Beauty and sensuality “,”Manga: Hokusai teaches”. This route will allow you to trace the history of this artistic discipline. Glimpses of bridges, waterfalls, districts of Edo and Kyoto, panoramas depicting a rural Japan, geisha and actors faces, young men and women in kimonos from the obvious sensuality. Each image leads the visitor to places and places dear to the three masters.

Images that became landmarks; colors, camera angles and characters that influenced the western photography. No coincidence that the French impressionist painters have never hidden the influence of these artists for ukiyo-e. But the charm of these works also perpetrated the twentieth century arts, provoking a continuing fascination; you just think about the contribution they have made to the inspiration of contemporary graphic arts, Japanese manga and  anime but also to American and European comics, or the art of tattooing, where the works of Hokusai are often recalled.

utagawa hiroshige works of art displayed in Milan


Among the selected works, in addition to those mentioned above, there will also be other well-known works like Katsushika Hokusai’s “Yoshino Waterfall in Yamato Province where Yoshitsune Washed His Horse, from the series A Tour of Japanese Waterfalls”, “Portrait of beauty “ by Utamaro and Utagawa Hiroshige’s “41. Narumi. Shops Selling the Famous Tie-dyed Fabric, from the series “Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô”

The exhibition is sponsored and produced by the City of Milan with Mondo Mostre Skira and is part of a calendar of events to celebrate the 150th anniversary of relations between Japan and Italy.

Website of the exhibition:

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