Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty

One of the most influential artists working in the genre of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) in late-eighteenth-century Japan, Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?–1806) was widely appreciated for his prints of beautiful women. In images showing courtesans, geisha, housewives, and others, Utamaro made the practice of distinguishing social types into a connoisseurial art. In Utamaro and the Spectacle of Beauty, Julie Nelson Davis makes a close study of selected print sets, and by drawing on a wide range of period sources reinterprets Utamaro in the context of his times.

February 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3199-8 / $65.00 (CLOTH)