Yoshitoshi’s Battles

Faces of Battle: Japanese Prints from the Permanent Collection
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Yoshitoshi, who is the principal artist in this exhibition, favors a highly complex supercarriage that dissolves at the focal point, melts away in beauty, it might as well be said.

His battle prints sometimes bear a marked resemblance to Goya’s in some ways, a gesticulation, a line of firing soldiers, a certain gruesomeness.

In Yoshitsune Rescuing Kenreimonin at the Battle of Yashima, the design is paramount, as far as it goes, reading right-to-left in the Japanese manner. The hero has gained the lady’s boat at night, and now finds her storm-tossed person.

Yoshitoshi saw with his own eyes the Battle of Ueno, and here again is a rather odd comment in the two Italianate figures on the right conversing. They are perhaps in some way Yoshitoshi and his fellow artist Toshikage, or else (right-to-left) the dialogue preceding the conflict (The Battle of Sannō Shrine).