Cities, Buildings, and Rooms
Japanese print artists used a range of techniques to represent place and space in their compositions. Before contact with Western art, interior scenes were characterized by the strong diagonal lines that were generated from axonometric-like projections of space. Later, when Japanese artists familiarized themselves with the rules of constructed perspective as used in Western drawing, single-point perspectives called uiki-e were used to represent the interiors of grand spaces such as theaters, or famous streets in the city. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the prints of artist such as Hokusai and Hiroshige showed many elements of Western influence which produced a more realisitc rendition of the buildings, streets, and interiors they inhabited. Mastery of the Western techniques of perspective and chiaroscuro, and the integration of these with Japanese tastes in subject matter, color, and composition, characterized Meiji period prints. On view is a variety of examples that demonstrate the range of techniques and conventions used to convey a sense of place in the Japanese print.