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The son of a theatrical program publisher, Kiyotsune Torii grew up in Edo’s art scene. During his time, the Torii school was the preeminent producer of actor prints. He began his ukiyo-e training under Kiyomitsu, but drew strong inspiration from the prints of Harunobu. Kiyotsune’s familial connection with the theater shines through in his work. Specializing in yakusha-e, or actor prints, his figures appear elegant and graceful. In 1741, artists began to experiment with printed color. During the 1740s and 1750s, rosy pinks and pale greens were printed within the bold lines of the print. Kiyotsune captured the beauties of Edo with a shy and delicate femininity. While his bijin (beautiful women) are idealized, they are distinct from those of his teacher. In addition to single-sheet prints produced in the Torii school, Kiyotsune was a prolific illustrator of kibyoshi, comic-like illustrated books. He produced over 130 such kibyoshi over the course of his career.
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