Kitagawa Utamaro's Success

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Kitagawa Utamaro's success

Kitagawa Utamaro's success


Kitagawa Utamaro is a Japanese painter and printmaker. Some claim that he was born in Edo (now Tokyo), Osaka, or Kyoto (the 3 major cities in Japan), or in a provincial town (that no one can identify it with certainty) around the year 1753. Utamaro is one of the best known Japanese painters and valued in the West, and a leading representative of the Ukiyo-e movement that dominated the Japanese art of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. His works were popularized in Europe in the middle of the 19th century, where they became quite popular, particularly in France. His most famous works are Ten types of physiognomy of women, is a collection of beautiful dominant women, Big love themes of classical poetry (sometimes called Women in Love, enclosing the prints The love revealed and love thoughtful) and Twelve hour of the pleasure quarters. This paper discusses Kitagawa Utamaro's success in a holistic context.


Kitagawa became a pupil of Toriyama Sekien as a child and some sources believe he could be his son. He lived in the house of his master during adolescence and maintained relations with him until his death in 1788. At age 22, his first work of some importance included the cover for a book of plays 'Kabuki', which was published in 1775, with the stage name 'Toyoaki'. Around 1783, he moved to live with the emerging and young publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo, with him he lived for around 5 years. Around the year 1791 or so, Utamaro stopped illustrating books in order to devote himself to the illustrations of women in full figure, unlike other ukiyo-e artists who favored women's groups. In 1804, at the height of his success, Utamaro had some trouble with the law for publishing prints on a ...
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