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NIHON FŪZOKUE. Customs and Places in the Images of Edo-Meiji JapanLa collezione Coronini Cronberg di Gorizia
Since the second half of the Nineteenth century, the magnificent colour prints produced in Japan had become the object of widespread and obsessive collecting. Count Guglielmo Coronini Cronberg himself did not escape this obsession a century later when, in the 1970s, he acquired a nucleus of more than 300 works, including polychrome woodcuts and illustrations of black and white printed books. Through a selection of the most valuable and significant specimens, the exhibition aims to tell the story, daily life, customs and traditions of a country with a complex and refined culture, which Europeans long perceived as the quintessence of exoticism.
During the more than two hundred and fifty years of military rule by the Tokugawa family (1603-1868), Japan had developed all the characteristics of a complex and modern society, marked by a high degree of literacy and a vibrant publishing market.
The prints produced between the Seventeenth and Nineteenth centuries primarily celebrated the so-called ‘Floating World’ (ukiyo), i.e. the fashions, trends and entertainment venues that had developed within the cities: the pleasure quarters, such as Yoshiwara, located in the north-east of Edo (today’s Tōkyō), with its courtesans who attracted visitors from all over the country, and the theatre districts, where kabuki actors, revered like movie stars, staged stories of ill-fated love or dramatic revenge, inspired by literary classics or current events. In contrast, landscape images, which established themselves as an autonomous genre from the beginning of the Nineteenth century, reflected the growing interest for pilgrimages and domestic tourism, drawing on the older tradition of meisho (famous places) which became a pictorial speciality.
In the last decades of the Nineteenth century, alongside traditional subjects, prints also made explicit references to the events that were marking the history and society of Japan as it entered the Meiji era (1868-1912): the encounter with the West, the process of industrialization with the introduction of scientific and technological innovations, the new national political structure that brought the imperial figure back to the centre, as well as events relating to the war with China (1894-1895).
Finally, a large part of the works on display are pages from the very popular illustrated books, widely distributed thanks to a flourishing publishing market. Often produced with the contribution of famous artists of the ukiyoe such as Suzuki Harunobu, Katsushika Hokusai and his pupils, they included works of all kinds: calligraphy texts, painting manuals, animal and plant repertoires, representations of daily activities and travel, satirical images. Loose pages that, in their refined essentiality, contribute to offering a fascinating overview of Japanese society in a historical period of extraordinary cultural vitality and great transformations.
from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm; from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm
Guided tours depart at the beginning of each hour
Closed on Monday and Tuesday
Admission to the Palace and to the exhibition
Adult: € 8,00
Student: € 6,00
Child (under 11), disabled: free