Easy, peasy, Japaneasy – A brief span of Art in Japan


Japanese art has had a profound effect on European artists, stemming from Degas and Van Gogh, right through to Toulouse-Lautrec and Monet. As such, every art lover should be armed with a brief span of its rich history.


The Japanese term, Ukiyo-e, commonly translated as “pictures of the floating world,” refers to a style of genre painting and woodblock printing that arose in Japan during the 17th century and fell into decline in the 19th century. Similarly, Ukiyo, or “floating world” refers to the pleasure seeking and decadent features of the urban lifestyle, ubiquitous in Japanese society throughout the Edo period from approximately 1600 to 1867. Within its interrelated engagements in poetry, literature, theatre, story telling (rakugo), visual arts and the highly refined engagements of the licensed brothel quarters, the “floating world” sub-culture cultivated its own carefully refined behaviours, manners and sensibilities implicit in the…

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