Beauty of ukiyo-e

Classic masterpieces are being exhibited at Shizuoka City museum until the end of this month.

Ukiyo-e literally means "Pictures of the Floating World," and is a style of Japanese woodblock print and painting. After being exhibited at the World Exposition held in Paris in 1867, a major Japanese art movement, later known as Japonism, became popular in Europe. They were struck by the strong contrast of black and white, bold use of colors, liberal designs, and inspired many artists including Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.

I went to Shizuoka to see the collection the other day since I've always had a great interest in ukiyo-e as a child. As a fan of ukiyo-e artists such as Hokusai and Utagawa, seeing their actual artworks was an amazing experience. It sparked my eyes all the way through. The coloring was so vivid and beautifully preserved, and the way they portrayed the people and their social life during the Edo period was very lively.

It may sound weird but it felt like I was looking at a social media account of a person from the Edo era. They looked so fresh and new despite the fact that they're painted hundreds of years ago and they even had a short humorous caption on each painting. They were rather diaries with a beautiful cut from each day and they can take you back in time instantly by just looking at it. That's one of the things I love about paintings and literature; they have the ability to create a three-dimension world inside of you out of a two-dimension object and they'll never get old.