Book look: manga & Michelangelo

From wistful depictions of melancholic love stories to the adventures of invincible superheroes and science fiction warriors – Japanese art has always reflected significant developments in society and economy. “Hokusai x Manga. Japanese pop culture since 1680” was on display from June to September 2016. The Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg exhibition provided comprehensive information on the history of Japanese art from woodcuts to meticulous 21st century manga. The exhibit catalogue by Nora von Achenbach, Simon Klingler, Julika Singer and Sabine Schulze describes the key topics of Japanese artists – from dramatic stories involving poisoned wives depicted as paper lanterns to comic books aimed at Japan’s breakneck economic growth teenagers. Hirmer, the publishing house responsible for the exhibition catalogue, recently also released “… die Welt in diesen rauschenden Farben” about the influential Brücke group of painters which included Karl Schmidt-Rotluff and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. “Mack. Reporter” is another outstanding Hirmer publication. The 150-page photo book documents the achievements of German photographer Ulrich Mack.

Hokusai x Manga
By Sabine Schulze, Nora von Achenbach and others
Published by Hirmer (

A respected exhibition curator and museum founder offers an inside view on the unique achievements of a genius. For Taschen’s art book series, Gilles Neret investigates the stories behind the masterful works of art by Michelangelo. Neret – who has previously written about Claude Monet and Diego Velazquez – explains Michelangelo’s intentions and personal background throughout his career, from his start at the workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio to the statue of David and the Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings, arguably the most remarkable and famous parts of his oeuvre. Michelangelo was not too enthusiastic when he was assigned to decorate the ceiling of the chapel, an order which kept him busy for four years. The artist feared that the work, which he carried out all by himself, would have ruinous effects on his physical condition. Today his Sistine Chapel fresco is one of the top tourist attractions in the world. Neret’s book enables you to jump the queue to discover this masterpiece.

By Gilles Neret
Published by Taschen (

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