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Posted December 3, 2009
This is an invaluable guide for anyone with a real interest in Japanese prints. Although the author says her aim was to put together a reference book for readers with an interest in Utamaro, the information in this book would be of interest to anyone who wants to know more about the subjects in Japanese prints in general. It's a well researched book with an incredible amount of information, including sections about the warriors and tragic lovers that many Ukiyo-e artists drew from the most popular Kabuki plays. There's a section on the Chushingura, on Gods and legends, and a history of the Yoshiwara, and everything's divided up to make it accessible and easy to read. The appendixes are a real help for looking up names on Japanese prints such as the courtesans and tea house beauties, and there's a large selection of publisher's seals and Utamaro's signatures. This is a must read for anyone seriously interested in Japanese prints and there are a few prints in it that I'd never seen before.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 10, 2009
Utamaro Revealed takes the reader on a detailed journey through the life and artistry of Kitagawa Utamaro, one of the most well-known and widely renowned figures in the history of Japanese art. Primarily known for his regaling portraits of alluring, attractive women, Utamaro also created thousands of woodblock prints, featuring everything from historical icons to popular societal figures to skillfully crafted depictions of domestic life.
Within the pages of her tome, Gina Collia-Suzuki - an artist in her own right - has produced a comprehensive, all-inclusive resource regarding Utamaro's chosen subjects and themes. Her exhaustive research into his artistry was spurred by her growing admiration for his considerable skills and talents, beginning with her realization of just how much technical expertise he displayed in honing them to relative perfection.
In addition to featuring Utamaro's numerous creations, Collia-Suzuki also provides the reader with greater insight into his background and upbringing, shedding light on the formative influences that helped to mold his talent from an early age. Additionally, she exposes revealing truths about specific events in his life that contributed to the lore surrounding it, which serves the ultimate purpose of giving life to the man behind the myth.
By compiling the vast and sundry facets of Utamaro's life into a single volume, Collia-Suzuki has made it possible for art lovers the world over to develop a similar appreciation for the artist's oeuvre of lifelong work - and, hopefully, in so doing she inspires budding artists to aspire to the same level of unparalleled excellence in their own endeavors.
Posted January 3, 2009
For those unfamiliar with Kitagawa Utamaro, he was Japanese artist in the late 1700s / early 1800s whose expertise in Ukiyo-e prints is unsurpassed. Ukiyo-e, meaning ¿pictures of the floating world¿, is a style of woodblock prints capable of being mass produced. Ukiyo, or ¿floating world¿, refers to the rising unregulated merchant class appearing during this same period. Hence, Utamaro¿s work reflected much of Japan¿s culture and life during this period especially his compositions and study of women.<BR/><BR/>In Utamaro Revealed, Gina Collia-Suzuki beautifully reveals much more than just Utamaro, and her expertise not only in the artist but the rich culture and history of Japan shines. She takes the reader on a journey of a proud and changing society by highlighting Utamaro¿s work through themes of the time: the pleasure quarter, entertainment, legendary gods and heroes, leisurely pursuits, everyday life, and so on.<BR/><BR/>Filled with over ninety of Utamaro¿s reproductions, Collia-Suzuki augments each of these with a warm and thoughtful description of the back story inspiring the piece while pointing out specific details in the print providing the reader with a true understanding of the subtle brilliance of the artist. One such example is her explanation of Utamaro¿s A young woman painting her lips. In this particular print, there are a number of bowls and paraphernalia used by the woman to prepare her face. Collia-Suzuki explains, ¿Beside the bowl is a box of fushi powder, which was made from the gallnuts found on the Japanese sumac tree. The combination of fushi powder and kanemizu, made by fermenting iron fillings in a mixture of tea, vinegar and rice wine, produced a black pigment which could then be applied to the teeth, and once dried provided a rich lacquer coating.¿ <BR/><BR/>It is clear Collia-Suzuki has spent years in the pursuit of acquiring, learning, and understand Utamaro¿s work. Utamaro Revealed is like having your own personal art museum and cultural expert at your side. This is truly a masterful work that can be enjoyed by all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.