Hishikawa Moronobu’s Beauty Looking Back painting

“Beauty Looking Back”   One of the most popular paintings which depict a beauty stands in Japan and it is also the most famous artwork by Hishikawa Moronobu (1618-1694). Hishikawa Moronobu was a ukiyo-e painter in the early Edo Period (1603-1868) and established the method of coloring for ukiyo-e woodblock (there was only a black print in Japan until then). “Beauty Looking Back” is an original painting in his later years. Moronobu drew the whole body of the beauty at central bottom of the screen. There are plenty of space above her. The arrangement makes the woman so impressive. The vivid red kimono cloth on the plain background also emphasize her. Read more about Hishikawa Moronobu’s Beauty Looking Back painting[…]

Learn about ukiyo-e woodblock! Definition, history, famous artists and prints

What is a “ukiyo-e”? An introduction to Japanese woodblock printing Ukiyo-e  (pronounciation:uː.ˈki.oʊ.ˌeɪ, uːˌkiːjəʊˈeɪ. 浮世絵 in kanji) is essential field in Japanese art . The art never developed without the common people of the Edo Period.   Sponsored Links   It is said that the beginning of the ukiyo-e, the Japanese art of woodblock printings, is the pictures of Kyoto people’s living in late 16th century.     After that, the themes of ukiyoe expanded to popular kabuki actors, beautiful women and landscapes. “ukiyo” (浮世) means contemporary with hedonisitic and fleeting idea, so ukiyo-e translated as picture of floating world.               Sponsored Links             Read more about Learn about ukiyo-e woodblock! Definition, history, famous artists and prints[…]

Three beauties of the present day

Three Beauties of the Present Day (Tôji san bijin) by Kitagawa Utamaro

Famous Three Beauties of the Present Day ukiyo-e artwork by Kitagawa Utamaro   In the world of ukiyo-e, Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) had no equal with beautiful woman portrait (bijinga). Especially, “Three beauties of the present day” is one of the most important works.   Learn about Kitagawa Utamaro   “The present day” means Kansei Period (1789~1801) of Edo Era when Utamaro was active. It is common to call the print as “Three beauties of Kansei” in Japan.    The popular bijinga is thought to be created in 1793. The three girls were so famous for their beauty around Edo city, from left to right, Ohisa, Toyohina, and Okita.   They look alike? Exactly. Read more about Three Beauties of the Present Day (Tôji san bijin) by Kitagawa Utamaro[…]

Kitagawa Utamaro’s art woodblcok prints of Okita

Naniwa-ya Okita(難波屋おきた), one of the most famous model of Utamaro’s woodblock prints Among the ukiyo-e artists in Japan, Kitagawa Utamaro was second to none in beautiful woman portrait(bijinga). He painted various pictures of middle class women in Edo, but especially Naniwa-ya Okita appeared in many works.  But originally she was only a town girl.           Okita also became the kanban-musume for Naniwa-ya. And Utamaro drew her woodblock print for the first time in 1793 when she was 16 years old. Most of the girls didn’t wait on the customers but she did as the pictures show her appearance of bringing the green tea.      She was so charming and did good service. In Read more about Kitagawa Utamaro’s art woodblcok prints of Okita[…]

Kitagawa Utamaro’s “Flowers of Edo” bijinga ukiyo-e art prints

“Flowers of Edo:Girl Ballad Singers”(江戸の花娘浄瑠璃) “Flowers of Edo: Girl Ballad Singers” are works of the later years of Kitagawa Utamaro(1753?-1806) who was an ukiyo-e artist specializing in beautiful women portrait.     He painted two girls playing the shamisen(三味線) and sang for joruri(浄瑠璃).           In 1803, a few years after Tsutaya Juzaburo(蔦屋重三郎) who was an important business partner died, he painted these symmetrical beautiful paintings. The publisher was Yamaguchiya Chūuemon (山口屋忠右衛門).   Following year, Utamaro was punished for being charged with crimes of drawing “Picture of Hideyoshi and his Five Wives Viewing the Cherry-blossom at Higashiyama” from the shogunate. After finishing the term of imprisonment, he almost became a lifeless shell. Read more about Kitagawa Utamaro’s “Flowers of Edo” bijinga ukiyo-e art prints[…]

Utagawa Kuniyoshi:biography, ukiyo-e prints of samurai and other artworks

Utagawa Kuniyoshi(1797-1861) Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) was one of the ukiyo-e artists who worked extensively as a member of Utagawa School, along with Hiroshige (広重) and Kunisada (国貞).    He established a unique world not found in other ukiyo-e artists. His talent of paint could be compared to Katsushika Hokusai(葛飾北斎). And thorough the life, he was a totally opposite person to Kunisada.      Kuniyoshi was born as a son of a dyeing shop in Nihonbashi, Edo. He was interested in painting from his young age and used to practice paintings as imitating the artworks of Kitao Shigemasa(北尾重政) and Kitao Masayoshi(北尾政美).    When he was 15, he became a disciple of the first Utagawa Toyokuni(初代歌川豊国). However, unlike Kunisada, as a typical Read more about Utagawa Kuniyoshi:biography, ukiyo-e prints of samurai and other artworks[…]

Utagawa Kunisada(the third Toyokuni), his biography and woodblock prints

The biography and woodblock prints of Utagawa Kunisada(1786-1865) Utagawa Kunisada(歌川国貞) was the one of the most popular ukiyo-e artists at the end of the Tokugawa period as well as Utagawa Kuniyoshi(歌川国芳), among the disciples of the first Toyokuni(豊国). In contrast to his younger disciple, he was a serious person and always neatly dressed.   Sponsored Links       [/su_animate]         Back to the page of ukiyo-e

Kitagawa Utamaro, “Twelve Hours of the Green Houses ” woodblock prints

The series of “Twelve Hours of the Green Houses “(『青楼十二時』, Seiro juniji) Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806) had won overwhelming popularity by using drawing method called Tajika for beatiful women portrait artworks including “Anthology of love”, “Ten Learned Studies of Women “, and Famous Beauties of Edo”.    In the mid-1790s, he departed from the techniques that a large image of the upper body of a woman, he drew again creating a picture of a whole figure with “Twelve Hours of the Green Houses ” .   In this work he expressed the courtesans of the Yoshiwara (a red‐light district in Edo Period) for each time of  Japanese former style. The series is made up of 12 pictures, we Read more about Kitagawa Utamaro, “Twelve Hours of the Green Houses ” woodblock prints[…]

“Anthology of Poems: The Love Section” ukiyo-e art prints by Kitagawa Utamaro

“Anthology of Poems: The Love Section”(歌撰恋之部, Kasen koino-bu) Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806) who had become one of the most notable artists in the ukiyo-e world of beautiful women portrait by acquiring a new painting method, published “Anthology of Poems: The Love Section” around 1793.     The title was intended to follow the collections of tanka compiled during the Japanese dynasty era. These collection contain the poems based on themes nature, love affair, and view of life. So, Utamaro’s five woodblock printings are the division of romance among them. Tsutaya Juzaburo who was also the advisor of Utamaro went for publication.   Utamaro drew the women in the different love situations and expressed them with just a picture.   Before to see the English titles and description, please Read more about “Anthology of Poems: The Love Section” ukiyo-e art prints by Kitagawa Utamaro[…]

Kitagawa Utamaro; biography and print artworks

Biography of Kitagawa Utamaro(1753?-1806) When talking about portraying beautiful women of ukiyo-e prints, we can’t describe it without touching on Kitagawa Utamaro (喜多川歌麿). He developed the new ways to draw Edo women and it made him as a maestro of bijinga(printing of beautiful women portrait).         It is unclear when and where he was born exactly but the most experts think his birthplace as Edo(Tokyo). From the beginning, he had the family name Kitagawa but the different kanji “北川”.     He studied the drawing under Toriyama Sekien(鳥山石燕), who produced the famous ukiyo-e artworks of the monsters, in his childhood.    In 1775, he experienced the working of ukiyo-e, “Forty-eight Famous Read more about Kitagawa Utamaro; biography and print artworks[…]