World History Episode 34 Samurai, Daimyo, Matthew Perry and Nationalism, (Time Stamp 7:41)
The Last Shogun (Tokugawa Yoshinobu), Yoshitoshi Taiso, 1875 -1876
Context in CC: “But even worse for the Tokugawa was the arrival of Matthew Perry…So the American naval commodore arrived in Japan in 1853 with a flotilla of ships and a determination to open Japan’s markets. Just the threat of American steam-powered warships was enough to convince the bakufu to sign some humiliating trade treaties that weren’t unlike the ones China had signed after losing the Opium Wars. And this only further motivated the daimyo and the samurai who were ready to give the Tokugawa the boot. Within a few years, they would.” John explains how Commodore Matthew Perry was the catalyst to the downfall of Japan’s last ruling Shogunate, the Tokugawa.
Greater Historical/Art Historical Relevance:Yoshitoshi Taiso, also called Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, is widely recognized as one of the last great masters of the ukiyo-e style of Japanese woodblock printings. Developed in the Edo Period of Japanese history, emerging around 1620 in the city of Edo (now Tokyo). The Edo period was the relatively stable and peaceful years during which the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan.
Stability, both politically and economically, encourages artistic development. The shogunate class structure actually placed the merchants, the richest of the classes, at the lower end of the social scale and separated them from political power. They turned to the arts as a way of developing their cultural status.
Yoshitoshi was one of the later masters of this medium. He lived through the end of the Edo period and the fall of the Shogunate to experience some commercial success during the Meiji Restoration. From his series, Annals of the Tokugawa Administration, this triptych (a three paneled work) of prints depicts the final Shogun: Tokugawa Yoshinobu.
By the 1880’s, as Japan was opened the west new forms of expression began to circulate (photography, lithography, etc). These media could be more easily mass produced and the demand for ukiyo-e woodblocks was greatly reduced. In his later year, Yoshitoshi was at his most prolific, most of his widely recognized work was created in the last seven years of his life. He worked to preserve traditional Japanese arts and produced his most famous series: One Hundred Aspects of the Moon.
As ukiyo-e ‘s popularity faded in Japan, the opening of the country to the west also created an interest in ukiyo-e and other traditional Japanese arts in Europe. Most notable, the impressionist and post-impressionists often employed elements taken from the Japanese culture. This stylistic influence has since been dubbed Japonisme
1. Library of Congress Online Exhibition: The Floating World of Ukiyo-e.
2. International Fine Art Dealers Print Association: Tsukioka (aka Taiso) Yoshitoshi.
This was a request: if you have requests fell free to drop them in the ask box, but do have a specific image in mind. I prefer to keep going through each episode in order. Thanks for your patience. -Kelsey
World History Episode 31 Latin Revolutions (Time Stamp 1:48)
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Miguel Cabrera, 1750
Context in CC: “Take a gander at Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, whose name I’m abbreviating. A child prodigy who spoke five languages by the age of 16, de la Cruz wanted to disguise herself as a boy so she could attend university, but she was forbidden to do so. Still, she wrote plays and poetry. She studied math and natural science, and for being one of the leading minds of the seventeenth century, she was widely attacked and eventually forced to abandoned her work, and sell all 4000 of her books.” So patriarchy sucked for Sor Juana, and all of us basically.
Greater Historical/Art Historical Relevance: Miguel Cabrera was one of the best known colonial Mexican painters. Born in 1695 in Oaxaca, Cabrera had moved to Mexico City by the late 1730’s, where he probably studied at Juan and Nicolás Rodríguez Juárez’s Academy of the Art of Painting.
At the time the painters in Mexico were still on a guild-based system, and reliant on apprenticeships and family connections. The Academy helped move painting more into the professional realm that had already been established in Europe (1). Cabrera studied under Juan Correa, a painter most famous for his extensive work for the Cathedral of Mexico City (2).
While most of Cabrera’s works are religious, he was a favorite artist of the archbishop of Mexico City as well as the local Jesuit order, he is best remembered for this portrait of Sor Juana, among other portraits, and his Castas paintings, works depicting the different mixed races or ‘castes’ in colonial Mexico. The Castas are a pictorial type, many colonial painters tried there hand at them, though Cabrera is one of the most well known (3).
But let’s bring this whole thing back around to our girl Sor Juana. Both Sor Jauna and Cabrera were part of the cultural period sometimes called the ‘Hispanic Baroque’(4). The manifestation of the Spanish Baroque styles of Velazquez (in art) and Cervantes (in literature) in the Spanish Colonial territory. While the Baroque of the new world took some things from it’s European counterpart, it became a style of its own. Sor Juana and Cabrera were both important figures in creating a new culture for a new world.
1.The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Ed. Davíd Carrasco. © 2006 Oxford University Press. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Goucher College. 10 September 2012 http://www.oxford-aesthetics.com/entry?entry=t221.e64
Correa, Juan.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/T019587 (accessed September 10, 2012).. “
3. Ilona Katzew “Castas Paintings” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures. Ed. Davíd Carrasco. © 2006 Oxford University Press. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Goucher College. 10 September 2012 http://www.oxford-aesthetics.com/entry?entry=t221.e87
4. Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,” accessed September 09, 2012, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/144916/Sor-Juana-Ines-de-la-Cruz.