Ukiyo-e, (浮世絵), or the “floating world pictures” synonymous with the woodblock prints and paintings of the rising merchant class of Edo period (1603-1867) Japan, include some of Japan’s most recognizable pieces of artwork to this day. Along with kabuki actors, sumo wrestlers, historical/mythological scenes, and landscapes, one of the most popular subject matter choices for ukiyo-e were portraits of beautiful women, also known as bijin-ga.
Despite the passage of time between the end of the Edo period and the modern day, at least one artist still incorporates traditional ukiyo-e elements into her pictures of beautiful women with a subtly modern flair. Get ready to feast your eyes on these exquisite modern-day paintings of kimono-clad beauties by artist Haruyo Morita!
Even if this is your first time hearing the term ukiyo-e, you’ve surely seen a painting that looks more-or-less something like this:
▼Three Beauties of the Present Day, Kitagawa Utamaro, circa 1793
Although the masters of ukiyo-e flourished over 200 years ago, there is at least one modern-day artist who fuses characteristics of the old-style bijin-ga subgenre into her gorgeous paintings of beautiful women.
That person is none other than Japanese artist Haruyo Morita (森田春代), who was born in 1945 in Saitama Prefecture. Clearly talented from a young age, she first worked as a kimono painter and designer before shifting her attention to creating “contemporary representations of traditional ukiyo-e.” Morita currently resides on the New South Wales Coast of Australia, and only infrequently holds exhibitions in her native country.
One glance at her craft is enough to see the influence that Morita’s kimono-making days have had on her artwork. Her paintings, full of delicate lines and vivid colors, mirror the designs of an elaborate hand-dyed kimono created using yuuzen resist techniques. Her ornate depictions of women and flowers (a common kimono motif) are nothing short of breathtaking.
Even Ms. Morita’s personal website is stylish, with flower petals and leaves gracefully floating down the page right before your eyes:
▼Ms. Morita’s homepage
Just be warned–once you’ve started looking at her collection of absolutely stunning ukiyo-e-style paintings, you’ll probably lose yourself within her fantastical “floating world pictures.” Let’s take a look at some of her paintings now.
Lucky for those of you stunned into silence, you can order Ms. Morita’s paintings for your personal collection in the form of giclee prints, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, and even downloadable screensavers for your computer! Might we suggest one of those unique options for any of our Australian readers struggling with last-minute holiday gift ideas?