Masterworks of Ukiyo-e: Utamaro

Utamaro

“… pictures of beautiful women, which are the true province of ukiyo-e.”

“It is interesting, incidentally, that producing pictures of celebrated prostitutes should have had more snob value than doing work for the theater.”

“In 1804, [Utamaro] did a picture of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his five concubines, which was published as a color print on the sixteenth of the fifth month. It attracted official notice and he was sentenced to three days in prison, followed by fifty days in hand chains.”

“During the An’ei and Temmei periods (1772-88), [Utagawa] was inspired by Western etchings and Western-style paintings to produce what were known as uki-e, prints showing scenes with an exaggerated Western-style perspective which relied largely on their curiosity value.”

“It was in 1765, in fact, that the nishike-e–the true polychrome woodblock print as opposed to the prints using a restricted number of colors that had been common before–first came into being.”

“…okubi-e, which showed only the head or upper half of the body.”

“Geisha are said to have originated around 1762 when Kasen, a courtesan of the Yoshiwara, took to singing ballads with samisen accompaniment in the company of the male entertainers who were already popular at the time.”

some quotes I found informative from the Utamaro volume of the Masterworks of Ukiyo-e Series
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