Japan art and Nishimura Shigenaga (1697-1756)

Japan art and Nishimura Shigenaga (1697-1756)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese artist Nishimura Shigenaga had a lot of self-belief and the noble goal of becoming an established artist. Thus, before firmly establishing himself in the art scene, he ran a bookshop in the environs of Kanda (modern-day Tokyo). Therefore, in his free time, he taught himself about the intricacies of art. 

In time, the influence of Okumura Masanobu and Nishikawa Sukenobu became noticeable. Thus certain refinements to his art became noticeable once he was firmly established. 

The British Museum reports, “Shigenaga was active in many fields: actor prints; landscape series such as ‘Eight Views of Kanazawa’ and ‘Eight Views of Lake Biwa’; classical themes; bird, flower and animal prints; historical prints; parody prints; perspective prints. However, he particularly excelled in prints of beautiful women, which have about them a warm amplitude.

The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD Museum), says (art piece below), “The complicated technique utilized here represents one stage in the development of full polychrome woodblock printing. Three woodblocks — light and dark gray and black — were used for printing; then the print was hand-colored with red and yellow pigments; and, finally, metallic embellishments were added. Works of this type were known as “lacquer prints.”

Overall, Shigenaga had the confidence to excel in the art world. Thus he taught himself and continuously developed areas of art that interested him – and had economic value.


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