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
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
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
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.