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“Visions of People: The Influences of Japanese Prints-Ukiyo-e Upon Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century French Art,” by Patricia Flynn

Guide Entry to 82.04.03:

This unit discusses the cultural transmission of the art form known as “ukiyo-e” between two very different societies, Japan and France during the three hundred year period of the early 1600’s to the late 1800’s. Following a brief period of trade with the Portuguese and the Dutch along with the cultural influence of European Christian missionaries Japan isolated itself from Western societies. During this time of isolation Japan saw the rise of strong government rule by the Shogunate, a growth of large cities that brought about the rise of a mercantile class, and the artistic development of the “ukiyo-e” The “ukiyo-e” woodblock print flourished during this time as a popular art for the masses. Five “ukiyo-e” artists are discussed along with the detailed process of making Japanese woodblocking prints. With the gradual opening of Japan to trade during the nineteenth century, “ukiyo-e” prints were to reach Europe and become a source of inspiration to many artists, particularly the French Impressionists. Five French Impressionistic artists are discussed whose work was greatly influenced by Japanese woodblock printing methods and compositional devices. A slide collection representative of the Japanese and Impressionistic artists discussed is to be included as well as art activities suitable for middle school students.

(Recommended for 6th and 7th grade middle school Art)

Key Words

Art French Impressionism History Japanese Art Woodblock Print

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