Size: 5 ” x 8 ” Pages: 160 - Published: 2011 - Price: $48 - Binding: Softcover
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This is a great new survey book of one of my favorites. Yoshitoshi is the darling of modern Ukiyo-e collectors. Reviled for decades, he is now moving into the position of the top rank of Ukiyo-e artists. He studied under Kuniyoshi where he learned the skillful portrayal of warriors and historical subjects. He also gained Kuniyoshi's dramatic flair and abilities to create scenes of violent action. Most of Yoshitoshi's early work strongly resembles that of his master, depicting subjects such as the 1866 Heroes of the Suikoden (50 in the series since his publsher did not wish to illustrate all 108 heroes). Toward the beginning of the Meiji Period , Yoshitoshi suffered a nervous breakdown and his output dropped completely between 1870-1873. His work after this crisis was very different. He was no longer drawing figures in the mannered, traditional way of Japanese art, but rather exploring new avenues, largely influenced by Western art. He retained drama and energy in his work, but infused the new pictures with dynamic color and psycological depth. His subject matter in this books is intense (and creepy), including torturing and torturous oni (demons), a myriad of demonic being and the samurai attempting to subdue them, suicidal maidens and creative ghosts. His work was summarily dismissed by critics until recently when noted scholar, John Stevenson, wrote his seminal texts on Yoshitoshi. He is now considered the last of the great Ukiyo-e masters and is sought by collectors and connoisseurs. This book brilliantly pulls from all stages of his career, the illustrations are full page and full color and on every page. There is very little text and what is there, is in Japanese.