Memorial image of Utagawa Kuniyoshi - ROM2012_12951_26


Memorial image of Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Medium:Woodblock print on paper
Geography: Japan
Date: 1861
Period: Edo period
Object number: 926.18.1093
Credit Line: Sir Edmund Walker Collection
Not on view
DescriptionThe Utagawa School was the largest school of ukiyo-e in the last 50 years of the Edo Period (1603-1868), with more than 500 artists studying and working within it. While the school's speciality was "actor prints," as seen in Toyokuni I's 'Ichikawa Omezo as a Pilgrim and Ichikawa Yaozo as a Samurai' and his 'Bando Mitsugoro III as Dancer and Bando Yasosuke and Ichikawa Aragoro as Monks' or Kunimasa I's prints of 'Actors Sanogawa Ichimatsu; Ichikawa Danjuro, and Ichikawa Danzo', Utagawa artists were popular also because of their versatility. They depicted almost every theme of ukiyo-e, including beauties (Toyokuni I's 'Three Women and a Man Visiting a Temple' and Toyohiro's 'Three Women Walking in front of the Kame-ya Store'), popular stories and legends (Kunisada's 'Female Ghost' and Kuniyoshi's 'Roshi Ensei' and 'Toei'), ancient manners and customs (Kunisada's 'Fan Print with Two Bugaka Dancers'), scenes from everyday life (Toyokuni I's 'Two Women and Boy at a Public Bathhouse') and portraits (Toyokuni I's 'Publisher Eijudo Hibino at 71' and Yoshiiku's 'Memorial Print of Utagawa Kuniyoshi'). Unlike most prints which were posters or commercial advertisements, Kunisada's 'Fan Print' was to be mounted in a round fan. It is unique because it was produced only in shades of blue, a type called ai-zuri or "blue print". The print was designed by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), also known as Toyokuni III, the most prolific, commercially successul artist in the school. His rendering of worldly, self-assertive women, such as his 'Female Ghost', gained extreme popularity and reflected the taste of townspeople at the time. Some of the Utagawa artists were interested in newly-introduced Western painting techniques, such as one-point perspective and shading, as seen in Kuniyoshi's 'Toei'.
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