Shunman (1757 - 1820 )

Shunman Kubo was an ukiyo-e artist and author of the Edo Period. Born as Yasubei Kubo (or Kubota) in 1757, Shunman was orphaned as a child. He became a student of poetry under Nahiko Katori before turning to ukiyo-e under Shigemasa Kitao. Throughout his career, Shunman produced many paintings, prints, illustrations, and poems, all published under a variety of different pseudonyms. During the last two decades of the 18th century, he produced some prints in the beni-girai trend, shunning vivid colors for a more muted palette. Shuman’s passion for the art of verse and art of print intertwined, particularly later in his career. In the 1790s, Shunman turned away from commercial ukiyo-e to focus on surimono, deluxe, privately-commissioned prints, which were often commissioned by poetry groups. It is also said that he provided poetry for compositions by Utamaro, Eishi, and Hokusai. Today, his works can be found in collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Japanese Woodblock Prints (1800 - 1868)

By the 19th century, Japanese woodblock prints achieved extraordinary popularity. While the shogunate issued a battery of censorship reforms throughout the 1800s, artists ignored and evaded restrictions with images of indulgent beauties and vibrant kabuki actors. As constraints tightened in the 1840s, bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) became earthier in prints by Eizan and Eisen, while kabuki actors persevered in the work of Kunisada (aka Toyokuni III). During this period, ukiyo-e artists also added landscapes, warriors, ghosts and scenes of everyday life to their oeuvre. Artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige indulged a national wanderlust through Meisho-e or “famous place pictures,” while Kuniyoshi championed musha-e, a genre of warrior and legendary pictures.


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  • 1800 - 1868 (Edo)


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