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THE ARTIST - MORONOBU

Officially known as Hishikawa Moronobu, this Japanese artist was born in 1613 and died in 1694.  Working in his prime years as a printmaker and painter of the Ukiyo-e style, Moronobu was best known for his incredible advancement in the art form.  Born to a gold/silver thread embroiderer and dyer, he had a unique opportunity to learn a special craft, which propelled him in his own Kano and Tosa painting styles.  However, as Moronobu moved forward in his career, his style changed somewhat to exotic pieces, learning from the great Ukiyo-e master, Kamburi. 

Moronobu would go on to create some spectacular and unique pieces but his first signed and dated work was in 1672 with the creation of book illustrations.  Historians believe that this artist completed as many as 150 illustrated books during his career.  While he excelled as a Ukiyo-e printmaker, Moronobu also produced other pieces, many being with an erotic flare, to include heterosexual and pederastic.  Unfortunately, the majority of this artistís single-sheet prints were lost. 

During this era, many fine artists made their impact but Moronobu was noted as being the artist that first created mature Ukiyo-e styles, which would go on to set the future standards for new generations.  One particular piece developed by Moronobu was a set of 12 Shunga.  In this collection, some of the prints were made with black pigment only, known as Sumi-e while others were created with beautiful, hand coloring. 

The idea of grouping paintings in groups of 12 was adopted from the master Tosa Mitsunobu who made this a normal part of his creations.  Many of these prints were seasonal progressions.  However, Moronobu took this style and modified it to his own preference to include straight lines and curves, again focusing on erotic designs.  This new twist on an existing style opened new doors of opportunity. 

The life of Moronobu was an interesting one.  In addition to being a magnificent Ukiyo-e artist, one that preferred to focus on a genre different from other artists, he was also a writer and publisher.  Remember, an independent discipline of Ukiyo-e was not established at this time.  However, Moronobu was devoted to what he loved, which included paintings of beautiful women and erotica.  Therefore, he left many of his masterpieces depicting Edo people such as prostitutes, brothels, and so on, by heading away from traditional Japanese schools.


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

 

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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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