For the first time in history, centuries-old paintings – depicting scenes from the urban entertainment districts of Japan – are on display in the U.S.
The comprehensive Weston Collection of ukiyo-e (“Floating World”) art brings these early metropolitan amusements to life at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Painting the Floating World includes works from the 17th through the 19th century.
The merchant class, benefiting most from the rapid economic growth of the cities, indulged in the theatre, courtesans, and geisha of the pleasure districts.
“Floating World” came to describe their hedonistic lifestyle.
Artists focused on female beauty, kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, as well as scenes from history, folk tales, travel, landscapes, flora and fauna, and erotica.
Each painting offers an exquisite glimpse of the past; as a whole the exceptional collection reveals ukiyo-e’s rich connection to trends in fashion, beauty, and cultural life.
The above photo is a haunting image from 100 Looks of Various Women – one of over 150 prints and paintings in this magnificent Weston Collection.
Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection continues until January 27, 2019 at The Art Institute of Chicago.
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