If sensuality had a name, it would be without doubt Utamaro. Delicately underlining the Garden of Pleasures that once constituted Edo, Utamaro, by the richness of his fabrics, the swanlike necks of the women and the mysterious looks, evokes in a few lines the sensual pleasure of the Orient. If some scenes discreetly betray lovers’ games, a great number of his shungas recall that love in Japan is first and foremost erotic. Beyond the joys of the city, he explores the sobriety of nature with an equal simplicity, evoking evening snows and the evanescence of the moon. With unparalleled finesse his brush reveals in just a few strokes all the refinement of the Kano- school. Edmond de Goncourt, by bringing the beauty of the Japanese master’s art into light, invites the reader to discover the world within these artworks whose codes and nuances appear at first glance elusive. Through its selection of magnificent prints, this introductory work summons us into the reposeful garden of Aphrodite while discovering, or rediscovering, Japanese art.