The Eye of Atrocity: Superviolent Art by Yoshitoshi


For those philistines out there who think that art is a bit poncey or boring, after giving yourself a slap around the face can I then recommend you look into the Japanese art of muzan-e or  ‘Cruelty prints’ as they are also known? A rich and long tradition of documenting the most horrific scenes of violence either from real life events or Japanese folk-lore (think Hieronymus Bosch meets the Water Margin) in all their katana wielding, claret ridden glory. The Eye of Atrocity is an astonishingly violent series of paintings taken from Tsukioka Yoshitosh’s Sadistic Collection of Blood series, which really did take gore to the next level when it first hit the streets of Japan back in the mid-nineteenth century. Though there’s all manner of violent and gruesome stuff in here, the way it’s portrayed i.e. in a highly artistic yet slapstick manner, makes for compulsive page turning in a challenge to the reader to see if it’s going to get any crazier. If you thoughtJapan was all about Hello Kitty, perfect manners and delicately arranged raw fish then you need to take a look at the stunningly violent artwork in this beautiful book.

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