Opening on Tuesday, 17 October, at 6 p.m.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.