9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2012
"Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art" is the catalogue for an exhibition on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until january 2013. The art in this show and book is exquisitely beautiful. More important, however, is the fact that this art style, developed during the Edo Period (1615-1868), defines even today the main characteristics associated with Japan's unique design style. This style revolutionized design trends not only at home but also in Europe and the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, having a major impact on Western decorative arts.
The amount of space devoted to text in this book is slimmer than that in many other catalogues. Still, it more than suffices to define the nature of Rinpa art, its substantive links to earlier periods in Japanese history, and its pairing with poetry. Especially welcome is the manner in which the book fosters an appreciation for Rinpa's enduring influence. This owes a great deal to the curator's inclusion of not only the paintings that most readily define Rinpa style but also such art forms as lacquer-work, calligraphy, kimono design, book illustration, and even ceramics.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book is so good that I kept a copy for myself and gave one as a gift. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York gathered superb examples of Japanese design from the Edo (1603 to 1968) to the Showa periods (1926 to 1989), with nature and figures depicted on screens, scrolls, ceramics, basketry, woodcraft, and textiles. The book is essentially a catalog of the exhibit with the bonus of historical and descriptive essays by the curator John T. Carpenter. The colored reproductions and page quality are excellent. I was especially taken with the modern, early 20th-century designs of Kamisaka Sekka, the simplicity, movement, and spatial composition of Suzuki Kitsu, mid 19th century, and some stunning contemporary kimono. The aesthetic developed over the centuries continue in splendor today. This book serves as an excellent introduction for the casual reader and a useful reference for the expert.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
This book is of interest for the novice as well as for somebody with a good knowledge of Japanese art. The text is well written and interesting, the quality of the pictures is good and there are plenty of them. Even though I know a fair share about Japanese art, I learned a lot from this book. I can only highly recommend this book.