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Julie Nelson Davis: “Reconsidering ‘Pictures of Beauties’ in the Era of #metoo: An Utamaro Case Study”
October 30, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:15 pm
Julie Nelson Davis, Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, is a leading scholar of early modern Japanese woodblock prints. Prof. Davis will offer a timely reconsideration of a major work of early nineteenth century mass art. In 1804 the artist Kitagawa Utamaro and writer Jippensha Ikku offered a sneak peek of the annual events of the licensed prostitution district, the Yoshiwara, to the readers in Edo. Their book, the “Annual Events of the ‘Azure Towers,’ Illustrated,” became one of the most famous from the era and has often been interpreted as representing the life and culture of the quarter. In this presentation, Prof. Davis will overturn that reading and address how we might take a new look at this book, as well as at
other images of “beauties,” arguing that now, more than ever, it is vital that we put these images and texts into a critical dialogue with their social and historical contexts.
Presented by the Art History Department with support from Asian Languages and Cultures, the Center for Visual Cultures, and the Chazen Museum of Art.
Funding provided by the University Lectures Committee Anonymous Fund and the Joan B. Mirviss Japanese Art Fund.