The Actor's Image

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9780691036274: The Actor's Image


The "floating world"--the closely related pleasure and entertainment districts of Tokyo in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries--embodied and idealized fashion, chic, and urbanity for its habitués, and inspired a profusion of woodblock prints depicting renowned courtesans and adored matinee idols. Considered ephemera in their time, these prints are treasured works of art today. In this volume of "floating world prints" (ukiyo-e), the authors present a selection of Kabuki actor portraits and theater scenes from The Art Institute of Chicago's world-renowned Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints. Together with interpretive essays that place the prints in their historical and cultural context, the authors offer a catalog of 880 prints, 136 of them in color, containing the most complete and up-to-date information available about each print.


Donald Jenkins's essay explains printmaking and explores the lives and milieu of the Katsukawa school print makers. Timothy Clark, in his essay, vividly depicts the world of Kabuki theater and describes a particular production of a popular play, from the vantage points of various participants. Osamu Ueda has provided dates and identification for the subjects of many of the prints in the collection, as well as biographies of the leading Kabuki actors and brief lives of the printmakers of the Katsukawa school.


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From Library Journal:

The extensive Buckingham Collection of Japanese Prints at the Art Institute of Chicago is the source for this catalog of 880 18th-century ukiyo-e prints emphasizing Kabuki theater scenes and portraits of actors. Introductory essays explain the historical, political, and artistic context of the prints along with the basic structure of Kabuki performance. The major limitation of the catalog is the restricted color range of the reproductions. Even when prints are described in the text as containing blue areas, no blue can be seen, and prints described as vividly colored do not necessar-ily appear different from those described as faded. Still, enough specific information is given about each print to make the book useful to art and theater scholars, though the level of treatment is suitable for nonspecialist readers as well.
Kathryn W. Finkelstein, M.Ln., Cincinnati
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:


One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1994
"The Actor's Image is a candidate for most elegant art book of the year, and is one of the most informative.... [It] will be especially attractive to anyone who has enjoyed a Kabuki performance, but it offers every reader a wonderful introduction to the popular arts of 18th century Japan."--San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

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Timothy Clark, Donald Jenkins, Osamu Ueda
Published by Princeton University Press (1994)
ISBN 10: 0691036276 ISBN 13: 9780691036274
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