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Utagawa Kuniyoshi

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Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Edo Ukiyo-e Woodblock print
Japanese, (1797–1861) Utagawa (originally Igusa) Kuniyoshi. F.N.: Magosaburo, Taroemon. Go: Chooro, Ichiyusai, Ryuen.
Ukiyo-e painter and printmaker who worked in Edo. He trained first in the family craft as a dyer, and then was though to have become a pupil of Katsukawa Shun'ei. While still a youth he was accepted as a pupil by Utagawa Toyokuni, and began to use the go of Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi and Chooro. He studied Tosa, Kano, and Maruyama painting, and was influenced by Utagawa Kuninao. Then founded his own style, one so popular that it is said that the young men of his time often asked him to tatoo his designs on their bodies. He was famous for his prints of actors and animals, and also specialized in illustrations of heroic episodes in Japanese history. The best of his few landscapes were equal to those of Hiroshige. He had a taste for the bizarre and fantastic, and the ghoulish. His early style was comparatively simple, with landscape backgrounds in the style of Hiroshige; later his work became increasingly complex. A most prolific and uneven artist. Kuniyoshi's celebrated works include his set of Tokaido views, and his set of scenes depicting the twenty-four paragons of filial piety. His most significant work, however, may be his various series of prints illustrating heroic episodes, legends, and dramatic scenes in Japanese history.

Artist Objects

A Warrior 2003.2.6

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