KUNICHIKA , Toyohara (豊原 国周筆)

L’acteur Onoe Kikugorō V dans le rôle de Nikki Danjo

19th century
Size : 22 x 22 cm
Condition : B+
Technique : Woodcut engraving

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Toyohara Kunichika (豊原 国周筆 - 1835/1900), The actor Onoe Kikugorō V in the role of Nikki Danjo, 19th century, woodcut, 22 x 22 cm. 

Kunichika Toyohara was born Yasohachi Arakawa, he studied with the ukiyo-e artist Chikanobu, from whom he acquired his artist name. He then became Kunisada's apprentice and began to produce prints of actors in the style of Utagawa, although he never used the name Utagawa. Known for his okubi-e (big head portraits) of actors, Kunichika's prints capture a traditional genre with the bold new colors of aniline dyes. He made great use of deep scarlet red for dramatic effect. In addition, he produced historical prints and journalistic illustrations. Passionate about Kabuki theater, Kunichika regularly spent time backstage, drawing the actors and observing the plays. This rich personal experience of the theater lends a certain intimacy to his impeccable yakusha-e (actor prints). Before the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Kunichika Toyohara was chosen by the Japanese government to present his work at the 1867 World's Fair in Paris. 

The print illustrates a well-known kabuki villain, Nikki Danjo, in the play Meiboku Sendai Hagi, which tells the story of a palace intrigue and real events involving the Date clan of Sendai in the 1660s, although again, due to censorship on historical subjects in the theater, names, dates, and details have been changed.

KUNICHIKA , Toyohara (豊原 国周筆)