Megane-e

Last updated

Some young women using a megane-e device
Harunobu, c. 1760s Harunobu Guckspiegel.jpg
Some young women using a megane-e device
Harunobu, c.1760s

In Japanese art, a megane-e (眼鏡絵, 'optique picture') is a print designed using graphical perspective techniques and viewed through a convex lens to produce a three-dimensional effect. [1] The term derives from the French vue d'optique . The device used to view them was called an Oranda megane (和蘭眼鏡, 'Dutch glasses') or nozoki megane (覗き眼鏡, 'peeping glasses'), [2] and the pictures were also known as karakuri-e (繰絵, 'tricky picture').

Perspective boxes first appeared in Renaissance Europe and were popular until superseded by the stereoscope in the mid-19th century. [3] The Dutch brought the first such device to Japan in the 1640s as a gift to the shōgun . The devices became popular in Japan only after the Chinese popularized them in Japan [4] about 1758, [5] after which they began to influence Japanese artists. [4]

The artist Maruyama Ōkyo (1733–95) made serious study of imported perspective techniques and applied them to his painting. He gained an interest in making ukiyo-e prints through the artist Utagawa Toyoharu, who produced uki-e 'floating pictures' using linear perspective techniques. Ōkyo began making uki-e prints for viewing through a convex lens: megane-e. [5] Ōkyo later dismissed his megane-e, perhaps because their subjects were of kabuki and the pleasure quarters and thus considered of low artistic value. [6] Prints by artists such as Utamaro and Masanobu depict people enjoying megane-e. [7]

Related Research Articles

Utamaro Japanese artist

Kitagawa Utamaro was a Japanese artist. He is one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings, and is best known for his bijin ōkubi-e "large-headed pictures of beautiful women" of the 1790s. He also produced nature studies, particularly illustrated books of insects.

Ukiyo-e Genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica. The term ukiyo-e (浮世絵) translates as "picture[s] of the floating world".

Comics Creative work in which pictures and text convey information such as narratives

Comics is a medium that expresses narratives or other ideas using a series of still images, usually combined with text. It typically takes the form of a sequence of panels of images. Textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, and onomatopoeia can indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information. The size and arrangement of panels contribute to narrative pacing. Cartooning and other forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images. Common forms include gag-a-day comic strips, editorial and gag cartoons, and comic books. Since the late 20th century, bound volumes such as graphic novels, comic albums, and tankōbon have become increasingly common, while online webcomics have proliferated in the 21st century.

Sharaku

Tōshūsai Sharaku was a Japanese ukiyo-e print designer, known for his portraits of kabuki actors. Neither his true name nor the dates of his birth or death are known. His active career as a woodblock artist spanned ten months; his prolific work met disapproval and his output came to an end as suddenly and mysteriously as it had begun. His work has come to be considered some of the greatest in the ukiyo-e genre.

Raree show

A raree show, peep show or peep box is an exhibition of pictures or objects, viewed through a small hole or magnifying glass. In 17th and 18th century Europe, it was a popular form of entertainment provided by wandering showmen.

Maruyama Ōkyo

Maruyama Ōkyo, born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese, Japanese and Western sources. A personal style of Western naturalism mixed with Eastern decorative design emerged, and Ōkyo founded the Maruyama school of painting. Although many of his fellow artists criticized his work as too slavishly devoted to natural representation, it proved a success with laymen.

Woodblock printing in Japan Ancient technique for reproducing images or text

Woodblock printing in Japan is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868) and similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which typically uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.

Zograscope

A zograscope is an optical device for magnifying flat pictures that also has the property of enhancing the sense of the depth shown in the picture. It consists of a large magnifying lens through which the picture is viewed. Devices containing only the lens are sometimes referred to as graphoscopes. Other models have the lens mounted on a stand in front of an angled mirror. This allows someone to sit at a table and to look through the lens at the picture flat on the table. Pictures viewed in this way need to be left-right reversed; this is obvious in the case of writing. A print made for this purpose, typically with extensive graphical projection perspective, is called a vue d'optique or "perspective view",

Kobayashi Kiyochika

Kobayashi Kiyochika was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, best known for his colour woodblock prints and newspaper illustrations. His work documents the rapid modernization and Westernization Japanese underwent during the Meiji period (1868–1912) and employs a sense of light and shade called kōsen-ga inspired by Western art techniques. His work first found an audience in the 1870s with prints of red-brick buildings and trains that had proliferated after the Meiji Restoration; his prints of the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 were also popular. Woodblock printing fell out of favour during this period, and many collectors consider Kobayashi's work the last significant example of ukiyo-e.

<i>Uki-e</i>

Uki-e refers to a genre of ukiyo-e pictures that employs western conventions of linear perspective. Although they never constituted more than a minor genre, pictures in perspective were drawn and printed by Japanese artists from their introduction in the late 1730s through to the mid-nineteenth century.

Utagawa Toyoharu

Utagawa Toyoharu was a Japanese artist in the ukiyo-e genre, known as the founder of the Utagawa school and for his uki-e pictures that incorporated Western-style geometrical perspective to create a sense of depth.

Kanō Michinobu

Kanō Michinobu was a Japanese painter of the Kanō school of painting. He was the first appointed "inner painter" to the shōgun, to whom he remained close. Michinobu also used the art names Eisen (英川), Eisen'in (英川院), and Hakugyokusai (白玉斎).

Kabukidō Enkyō

Kabukidō Enkyō was a Japanese artist who designed ukiyo-e woodblock prints. Nothing is known of Enkyō's life, and only seven of his works are known, all of which are ōkubi yakusha-e, bust portrait prints of kabuki actors. Scholars divide them into two groups based on differences in the signatures, and the second group appears to be a set, as the prints depict three brothers from the same play. Enkyō's identity has been subject to speculation: a student of Sharaku's, even Sharaku himself, or a kyōgen playwright.

Nishimura Shigenaga

Nishimura Shigenaga was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist.

Tsukimaro

Kitagawa Tsukimaro was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist. He was one of the most successful students of Kitagawa Utamaro, from whom he took the -maro. His early works bear the name "Kikumaro", first written 菊麿 until 1802, then 喜久麿 until he changed it in 1804 to "Tsukimaro".

<i>Fujin Sōgaku Jittai</i> and <i>Fujo Ninsō Juppin</i>

Fujin Sōgaku Jittai and Fujo Ninsō Juppin are the titles of what may have been two series of ukiyo-e prints designed by the Japanese artist Utamaro and published c. 1792–93. Only five prints from one series and four from the other survive, and one print appears in both series, so that eight distinct prints are known. The two series may have been made up of the same prints, or they may have been the same series with a title change partway through publication.

<i>Sugatami Shichinin Keshō</i>

Sugatami Shichinin Keshō is the title of what was likely a seven-print series by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro. Only one print from the presumed series is known, and is believed to be of the tea-house girl Naniwa O-Kita.

<i>Shinagawa no Tsuki</i>, <i>Yoshiwara no Hana</i>, and <i>Fukagawa no Yuki</i>

Beginning in the late 18th the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Kitagawa Utamaro produced three hanging-scroll paintings for the prominent merchant Zenno Ihē. The themes of the paintings are "moon", "flowers", and "snow", and are named Shinagawa no Tsuki, Yoshiwara no Hana, and Fukagawa no Yuki

The Ukiyo-e Ruikō is a Japanese collection of commentaries and biographies of ukiyo-e artists. It did not appear in print during the Edo period in which it was produced, but was circulated in handwritten copies subject with numerous additions and alterations. The writer Ōta Nanpo produced the first version in 1790.

References

  1. Fujii 2004, p. 80.
  2. Screech 2002, p. 99.
  3. Fujii 2004, pp. 80–81.
  4. 1 2 Leibsohn & Peterson 2012, p. 45.
  5. 1 2 Fujii 2004, p. 81.
  6. North 2010, p. 177.
  7. Fujii 2004, p. 82.

Works cited

  • Fujii, Shigeru (2004). "眼鏡絵". 眼玉の道草. Bungeisha. pp. 80–86. ISBN   978-4-8355-4803-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Leibsohn, Dana; Peterson, Jeanette Favrot (2012). Seeing Across Cultures in the Early Modern World. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN   978-1-4094-1189-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • North, Michael (2010). Artistic and Cultural Exchanges Between Europe and Asia, 1400-1900: Rethinking Markets, Workshops and Collections. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN   978-0-7546-6937-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Screech, Timon (2002). The Lens Within the Heart: The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN   978-0-8248-2594-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)