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February 3, 2023

Japanese engravings on display at MNAR

Sixty-three polychrome engravings by Japanese artist Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865), will be on display as of Friday December 18 at the National Art Museum in an exhibit named “Passing World Views. Kunisada – an Utagawa school illustrious representative.” Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) is one of the most popular artists in his craft, a well-known and prolific representative of his age, also a very good illustrator and colorist. Since his early days as an artist his position was clearly one of notoriety among the engraving artists of his time, his success being in the wide variety of themes chosen, as well as in the female beauty representations and in the kabuki theatre illustrations. Kunisada was influenced in his work by his master in teaching, Utagawa Toyokuni (1769-1825), whose craft gave the name of an engraving trend and school. What makes Kunisada’s work extraordinary is the variety of subjects as well as the almost limitless creation energy, based on a respect for tradition. The Western collectors were among his most avid collectors, many of his admirers found in his work a way of finding out more about Japan’s exotic civilization. The Impressionist and Post- Impressionist painters found in his work a vivid inspiration and often copied his engravings into their paintings.

Of the engravings selected in the MNAR exhibit, the most valuable ones were selected. They illustrate some of Kunisada’s predilection themes: beautiful women imagery, theatre scenes, actors’ portraits, works inspired from literature and historical and mythical stories.

The exhibit is on display until the end of March 2010 in the Kretzulescu Hall of the National Art Museum. It can be visited from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10.00 to 18.00

The first Wednesday of each month, entry is free of charge.

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