Japan art and the Edo artist Katsukawa Shunshō
Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Katsukawa Shunshō was blessed with an independent artistic spirit. Of course, he understood the commercial angle of ukiyo-e but Shunshō wasn’t afraid to go against the grain.
Outside Japan, Shunshō isn’t particularly famous but he produced many stunning art pieces. Indeed, while he is known for depicting kabuki actors, his bijin-ga (beautiful ladies) is deemed to be of exquisite quality for his generation.
The Edo period that he belongs to witnessed a plethora of ukiyo-e artists focusing on kabuki and bijin-ga. This was based on the commercial angle because both themes hit a chord. Therefore, through his passion, you can really feel the atmospheric reality of kabuki based on his delightful art.
Similarly, the delicate aspects of beautiful ladies and the fashion of the day comes across strongly. This is the beauty of Shunshō.
In another article, I state, “His students would carry on aspects of Shunshō’s influence. This notably applies to Hokusai, Shunchō, Shun’ei, Shunko, and Shunzan who studied under Shunshō.”
Overall, Shunshō produced stunning art and taught many future great artists. Thus, while he isn’t famous outside of Japan, his legacy remains based on his personal art and the people he influenced.
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