Kitagawa Utamaro

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Kitagawa Utamaro: The Greatest Japanese Printmaker And Painter

Kitagawa Utamaro original name is Kitagawa Nebsuyoshi. He was born in 1753 in Japan and is known as one of the best Japanese painters and printmakers. The artist was known for his masterfully composed portraits presenting female beauties. As one of the greatest masters of the Ukiyo-e school of Japanese woodblock printing, Kitagawa excelled in the exotic portrayal of Japanese women. Many critics have explained him as the greatest Japanese printmaker. 

Life of Kitagawa Utamaro

Like most Ukiyp-artist, Kitagawa was a native of Modern Tokyo. He received his training from Toriyama Sekien, but Kiyonaga had the greatest influence on the artist in his youth. Some of the outstanding works by Kitagawa are illustrated in books. His works show the influence of the Dutch scientific Publications. 

1970 was the artistic peak for the artist as he portrayed Japanese women by bringing out their elegance and grace. The most original contribution by Kitagawa to Japanese art was his close-up pictures. He was also a master of the erotic print genre that truly displayed his mastery as a designer. 

The artist's career ended when he got arrested for representing the 16th-century Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi disrespectfully. And after two years, in 1806, he died, and in his lifetime, he produced 1500 prints that will always remain among the best Japanese artworks.

Some Greatest Artworks of Kitagawa Utamaro

  • Anthology of Poems: The Love Section—Kitagawa had become one of the most famous artists in the Ukiyo-e world of pretty women portrait by using a new painting method. And he has used this method here. Twelve Hours of the Green Houses- this is another masterpiece by Kitagawa Utamaro.
  • Flowers of Edo- Girl ballad singer- this one is from the later works of the artist.

Some of his best know wood-block-print series are-

  • Fu ninsōgaku jitta (Ten Physiognomies of Women)
  • Seirō jūni-toki (Twelve Hours at the Gay Quarters)
  • Seirō nanakomachi (The Seven Beauties of the Gay Quarters)
  • Kasen koi no fu (Women in Love).