The occasion is being held to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the relations between Japan and Italy that opened up diplomatic connections between the two countries following two centuries of Japan’s isolation. A special exhibition presenting three great masters of ukiyo-e, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), along with 200 other works and illustrated books from the Honolulu Museum of Art collection.
A plunge into Japanese art which, precisely at that period, began to influence the courts of Europe, with images of well-known locations and landscapes, famous faces of feminine beauty, and kabuki actors. The artistic market was so thriving that editors had to contend for the best artists, with constant changes in the format of stamps: vertical, horizontal, fan-shaped, and book-shaped.
Hokusai is the most renowned of the three, be that for his rather adventurous life (it is said that he changed residence more than ninety times and had the habit of constantly changing his artist name) or for the series of landscape panoramas that made him famous both in Japan and abroad, transforming him into a source of inspiration for many impressionist painters at the time, and for generations of modern tattooists today.
His is the most famous Great Wave Off Kanagawa, an explosion of water and life, with white froth that appears as claws against the blue of the sky, creating a strategic gap which frames the sacred Mount Fuji in the background, the spiritual axis to which life, yielded by the wave, is anchored. The sacred and the profane, the classic and the popular, all in one truly unmissable exhibition.
Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro / Luoghi e volti del Giappone che ha conquistato l’Occidente
Milano, Palazzo Reale / September 22th 2016 – January 29th 2017