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THE ARTIST – KIYONAGA

Known as Torii Kiyonaga, some of the greatest Bijinga prints created during the latter part of the 19th century were done by this Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaker and painter.  He began his career in the world of art in 1752, continuing until 1815.  Having attended the Torii School, his name had been changed from Sekiguchi Shinsuke.  His father was a bookseller in Edo. 

Torii Kiyonaga was so well regarded by his master Torii that after the master’s death, he took over the school.  Soon, he became recognized as one of the greatest masters of Nishiki-e, which is full-color print, as well as Bijinga, which are images of beautiful women.  In addition, Torii Kiyonaga also focused some of his work on Kabuki actors and theatrical scenes, which were often used to help promote the theater and/or the show being performed. 

One of Torii Kiyonaga’s legacies is that while he had a common upbringing, his paintings are exceptional and beautifully detailed.  Many of the beautiful women shown in Torii Kiyonaga’s prints are seen are full and mature while his predecessor Harunobu, preferred to paint thin, young women.  The bottom line is that both men had different tastes.  However, it is also believed that since larger sheets of paper where used, it allowed better depiction. 

Over time, another artist appeared on the scene by the name of Utamaro.  He too painted woodblock prints of beautiful women but even fuller and more mature than what you saw from Torii Kiyonaga.  While the paintings of women were gorgeous, the Kabuki scenes were somewhat on the plain side but still high in demand.  Keep in mind that during this time, many of the other Japanese artists began painting actors but Torii Kiyonaga chose to stick with scenes and beautiful women. 

By the late 18th century, Kiyonaga’s work had matured.  At this time, he created a number of masterpieces, again featuring full, mature, and beautiful women, along with theatrical scenes.  While his work is of high artist quality, the fact that he was the first Asian artist to create perfect designs of full-length portraits shot him to success and fame.


Read more about Japanese Woodblock Prints:
  Japanese Woodblock Prints   Ukiyo-e   Toyokuni Utagawa   Eisen Kikugawa   Hiroshige Ando   Utamaro Kitigawa

 

Visit our online store for dozens of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Click here to see our current selection.
 
The Great Wave by Hokusai
The Great Wave by Hokusai
Code:fw1002
Price:$27.95
Kabuki by Utagawa
Kabuki by Utagawa
Code:fw1121
Price:$27.95
3 Beauties by Utamaro
3 Beauties by Utamaro
Code:fw1118
Price:$27.95
General in Battle by Utagawa
General in Battle by Utagawa
Code:fw1120
Price:$27.95
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Mt Fuji by Hiroshige
Code:fw1010
Price:$27.95
 

 


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