Published by Skira. Edited with text by Rossella Menegazzo. Text by Christian Pallone.
Recognized as one of the most interesting and vibrant artists of the Edo period, Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) is a major exponent of ukiyo-e. His fame is tied to the series of polychrome xylographs that illustrate the 108 heroes from the novel Suikoden (Brigands), a late-18th-century bestseller in China and Japan that described a band of brigands who defend those oppressed by injustice and government corruption. The book conjures imagery of violent, powerful warriors with muscular tattooed bodies—imagery that today inspires manga, anime, tattoo artists and illustrators across the world. Kuniyoshi embraced the genre of warrior prints, but he was also interested in portraits of female beauties, kabuki actors, landscapes, children and ghosts, another greatly admired genre in Japan. Nonetheless, his name is above all associated with Arcimboldo-like composite figures, figures within figures and parodies of stories and battles. His images are fantastical, baroque, rich in color and detail, with imposing characters and dynamic actions. This book surveys the work of a versatile and intriguing figure whose impressive technique birthed a school that continued for generations.