Kitagawa Utamaro's "Bijinga" Ukiyoe Photo Album
Utamaro is one of the most prominent bijinga ukiyoe artists. He adopted the artistic pseudonym "Utamaro" in the spring of the 1st year of the Tenmei era (1781) with support from Tsutaya. Three years later Utamaro first started to gain recognition after the publication of his 1793 series "Female Geisha Section of the Yoshiwara Niwaka Festival," however it wasn't until the publication of his "Anthology of Poems: The Love Section" and the "Three Beauties of the Present Day" series (both from 1793) that his popularity exploded.
What characterizes Utamaro's style is that even the common prostitutes in his works are depicted with a sense of dignified elegance, in line with the tradition of bijinga.
Utamaro originated the Ōkubie Technique of ukiyoe where the subject's age, their genuine emotions, disposition and other subtle facets are portrayed in the work in great detail. This is best represented by the "Ten Learned Studies of Women" series (1792-3).
Utamaro's admiration for bijinga is seen through his works which offer insight into the personalities and psychological states of his characters.
Even today the name "Utamaro" is celebrated not only in Japan but all throughout the world.
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