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Japanese influence on Western Art - Essay Example

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Undeniably,a look at a piece of art depicts creativity or the mind of the artist.Pieces of arts from the east depict observation,realism with one dominant idea presented graphically with a strong motif.Edouard Mamet formed the foundation of western art that portrayed elegance with different bold patches of colour…
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Japanese influence on Western Art
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Japanese Influence on Western Art Undeniably, a look at a piece of art depicts creativity or the mind of the artist. Pieces of arts from the east depict observation, realism with one dominant idea presented graphically with a strong motif. Edouard Mamet formed the foundation of western art that portrayed elegance with different bold patches of colour. While the westerners are skilled in geometry and can precisely render light and shade on their arts, they fail in the painting skills. Most of westerners art too incorporate contrasting feature like smoothness and roughness, distance and proximity, depth and shallowness. On the other hand, easterners like the Japanese have enormous painting skills with less geometry. Most of their paintings are based on observation but do not include aspects of light (yang) and shadow (Yin). Easterners and westerners have picked pieces of knowledge in arts from each other forming hybrid arts with feature from each other. This paper will examine the works of prints of Bijin, Cheret, Lautrec, and Whistler to determine if cultural hybridism is good, inevitable, and need maintenance. After discovery of Lithography by German Alloys Senefelder in 1798, Mamet adopted it and produced the first Lithograph called “The Cats Rendezvous,” which is the first poster used for advertisement. Lithography and early Japanese woodcuts had similarities in that both achieved dramatic effects by use of colour and flat colour areas. Although Japanese e-prints had circulated since the 1850s, their influence in the western art poster came in the year 1870. Ukiyo e-print carried the advertisement of a famous Japanese drama called Kabuki, which attracted masses to enter the theatre and enjoy performances. These e-prints could be used as fliers passed on to different persons in the teahouses and on the roads to carry the message of the day. After prints of bijin with beautiful women found their way in Paris, Europe, they inspired the first art of poster design. In the west, to become a poster artist required psychologists who have gone through school to familiarise themselves with logical and optional laws of art. Westerners believe that a form of art especially for advertising must attract the eyes of an average man, which means that the art must be charming, captivating and full of attractive colours (Reland 54-55). Desire for constant improvement in art has made it impossible to maintain cultural purity. Although perfect painters, Japanese needed to learn how to incorporate geometry, light, and shadows in their arts. Thus, they required some form of learning, usually in the west culture. After several years of study, Cheret wanted to come up with a new form of art that incorporated larger posters and bring a change from the old typographical poster to pictorial poster. To come up with new flamboyant posters, Cheret incorporated popular folk art and beautiful colours and allowed the influence of Japanese prints. A famous Cheret annual Christmas seasonal posters called Pastilles Poncelet done in 1986 drew its inspiration from Japanese toys, dolls, fans, masks, paper sparrows, and goldfish. Pastilles Poncelet work of Cheret has similarities with the work of Hokusai Toyokuni Snow Scene with two actors walking on snow. After doing about 1200 posters, Cheret retired but mentored Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec considered himself as a brother to the Japanese because of his size. He was first inspired by the work of Pierre Bonnard and by his France Champagne advertisement poster that won a prize in a competition advertising a wine merchant. Lautrec is famous for refurbishing a famous club Moulin Rouge in Montmartre area in Paris. The club attracted persons to dance in an open courtyard under the gaze of a huge wooden elephant. To poster for this club, Lautrec sent for special brushes and inks form Japan. Like many Japanese prints, Lautrec themes included popular entertainers, dancers, dance halls, bars, and restaurants. Additionally, he dressed up in Japanese costumes. Most specifically, Lautrec received great inspiration from the work of Utamaro and even owned a copy of his art by name the poem of the pillow (Reland 61). One reason in support of cultural hybridism is that it brings about growth, new ideas, and innovation. From the works of Japanese, Lautrec gained confidence in silhouette posters against a neutral background. One such poster by Lautrec is Ambassadeurs: Aristide bruant dans son Cabaret. Advocating for cultural purity will hinder growth and knowledge. For instance, Japanese art has helped harmonise the Greek art initially full of perfection and academic, made them boring to look at and did not bring out the real picture. Abbot McNeil Whistler is another Western artist who received inspirations and influence from Japanese literature. In using Japanese art, Whistler’s main goal was to distance himself from the usual Greek Toga-clad and produce an original piece of art. Like the Japanese paintings, Whistler depicted his motives through use of colour especially blue to bring subtle variations. For instance, one of his famous paintings, Variations in Fresh Colour and Green: the Balcony is a Japoniste composition. It is similar to two woodcuts by Torii Kiyonaga Autumn Moon and the Fourth Month: Gentleman (Reland 36-37). In conclusion, cultural hybridism fosters innovation, originality, and knowledge and need maintenance. Works Cited Reland, Adriaan, Japonisme: Cultural Crossing between Japan and the West, New York, NY: Phaidon Press Ltd, 2005, Print. Read More
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