- About Ateneum
The Japanese woodcuts in the Finnish National Gallery collections now have a permanent display in the Ateneum Art Museum. This ukiyo-e cabinet is open on the museum's third floor as part of the collection display.
Ukiyo-e is a Japanese art that prevailed from the late 17th century to the mid 19th century, particularly in the capital city of Edo, today's Tokyo. These drawings depicted worldly pleasures, life in the city's licensed quarters, and the kabuki theatre with its actors. Later on, artists began to depict the everyday life of the people of Edo, making intimate interior pictures and finally city views and landscapes.
Since these woodcuts are printed with watercolours and thus sensitive to light, Ateneum's ukiyo-e cabinet will show a different themed selection every couple of months. The themes have been selected by Heikki Malme, chief curator of Ateneum's collection of prints. The first selection exhibits woodcuts acquired into the Antell Collection from Leipzig in 1908. Some 700 prints were then acquired, and they now form the main body of the Finnish National Gallery woodcut collection. Afterwards there have been some 200 other woodcuts either purchased or donated.
The different ukiyo-e cabinet themes:
Japanese woodcuts in the Antell Collection
Toyokuni and Kunisada
Heroes and heroines of the kabuki theatre I
Heroes and heroines of the kabuki theatre II
The collection of the Utagawaha Monjinkai Foundation
Theatre woodcuts from Osaka
Geishas and courtesans I
Geishas and courtesans II
The cabinet also introduces the history of ukiyo-e prints, and the traditional Japanese woodcut technique. You can also watch a dvd produced in Japan, showing the block-cutting and printing process of a woodcut. The cabinet is designed by architect Juha Ilonen.