Re: Kuniyoshi & Escher

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Posted by Dan McKee on February 03, 2003 at 02:22:38:

In Reply to: Harunobu & Escher posted by Gerald Schmieder on February 01, 2003 at 01:02:16:

I am not sure about the Harunobu comparison, but there is definitely at least one Japanese print design that Escher seems to have picked up on.

Kuniyoshi's print of Mase Chudayu Masaaki from his series "Biographies of the Loyal Retainers" (Seichu gishiden) depicts the warrior aiming his bow and arrow out at the viewer, utilizing a full frontal view. The visual illusion is that no matter where the viewer stands in relation to the print, no matter how extreme the angle, the archer appears to be aiming directly at him/her.

A later Escher design of a man aiming a gun picks up on this visual illusion (as, by the way, does a design by Kuniyoshi's student Yoshitoshi, also with a rifle rather than a bow and arrow.) I have not seen this technique in other European artwork, so assume that Escher either borrowed it from Japanese design or re-invented it himself.

: M.C. Escher is well known for his graphics, which show "impossible" objects,
: i.e. two-dimensional projections of three-dimensional things without any
: realization in the real (euclidean) space (sorry, I am mathematician).
: Examples are the "impossible" cube and the image "Belvedere".

: Harunobu already detected the same effect in his print "Courtesan on Veranda",
: which is depicted for example in the standard reference "Images from the
: Floating World" by Richard Lane on page 109. On the left side we see a curtain
: and obtain a contradiction of 90 degrees if we compare the upper and the lower
: restriction of it. Of course this was Harunobu's intention and no mistake in this
: design. But I never saw any comment in this direction.
: Many Harunobu prints contain subtle humour. Maybe this shows another category of
: his humour.

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